Ragù alla Bolognese (Bolognese Meat Sauce)
This recipe came from the well known Simili sisters of Bologna. They prepare a delicate brodo di carne, or meat broth, for use in their ragu because the sauce doesn’t need a lot of additional flavor. Unless you’re making brodo for another use, though, any light broth will do.
- 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, peeled and minced
- 1 rib celery, trimmed and minced
- 1⁄2 medium carrot, peeled, trimmed, and minced
- 2-3 slices prosciutto di Parma (about 1 oz.), finely chopped
- 2 chicken livers, finely chopped
- 1 1⁄2 lb. ground chuck
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 cup dry white wine
- 1 cup hot milk
- 1 cup beef, veal, or chicken broth
- 1 (28-oz.) can Italian plum tomato purée
- Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until soft and translucent but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add celery and carrots and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes more. Add prosciutto and chicken livers and cook, stirring, until livers are just cooked and still a little pink, about 1 minute. Add ground chuck, season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook, breaking up meat with the back of the spoon, until just cooked and still a little pink, about 5 minutes more. (To keep meat tender, do not fry or brown.)
- Add wine to pot and cook, stirring, until it has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, add hot milk, and cook, stirring occasionally, until milk has evaporated, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat broth and tomato purée together in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until hot, then add to meat mixture in pot. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2 1⁄2 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper.