'New Style' Ragù alla Bolognese

This recipe is inspired by one that appears in In Search of Perfection by the British chef Heston Blumenthal (Bloomsbury, 2006). The ragu includes seemingly unorthodox ingredients, like sherry vinegar, fish sauce, and ketchup, but, as Blumenthal says, they serve to "really enhance the meaty notes of the sauce".

'New Style' Ragù alla Bolognese
While this ragu recipe includes seemingly unorthodox ingredients, like sherry vinegar, fish sauce, and ketchup, they come together to enhance the flavor of the sauce.
Yield: makes 4 Cups

Ingredients

  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 4 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 sprig tarragon
  • 5 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 12 lb. boneless pork shoulder, cut into a 1⁄4" dice
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 12 tsp. coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and crushed
  • 2 Tbsp. ketchup
  • 2 tsp. worcestershire sauce
  • 14 tsp. fish sauce
  • 14 tsp. Tabasco
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • Homemade Tagliatelle

Instructions

  1. Using kitchen twine, tie together thyme, parsley, bay leaf, and tarragon. Set herb bundle aside. Heat 3 tbsp. oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add pork, season with salt and pepper; cook until browned, 12–15 minutes. Remove meat with a slotted spoon; set aside. Heat remaining oil in pot; add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, cloves, star anise, and coriander. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned, about 15 minutes. Add wine; cook until evaporated, 4–6 minutes.
  2. Reduce heat to medium. Add herb bundle, tomatoes, ketchup, worcestershire, fish sauce, and Tabasco; season with salt and pepper. Simmer until tomatoes break down, 12–15 minutes. Stir in pork and milk, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until very thick, 3–3 1⁄2 hours. (Add a little water, if needed.) Discard herb bundle; stir in vinegar. Toss with fresh tagliatelle or the pasta of your choice. Serve with grated parmigiano-reggiano.