8 November 2010

Bolognese sauce

There seems to be much made over what exactly goes into a Bolognese ragu. Milk or no milk, pork or no pork, red or white wine, lots of tomatoes or just a few. After doing a bit of reading on it I decided to give it a go with an emphasis on a strong meat flavour (to be provided by bacon, beef mince and chicken livers), a relatively modest amount of tomato, milk and a long cooking period. There seem to be fans of both red and white wine, I used white for a change to see how it was.

    • onion, carrot and celery
    • beef mince, chicken livers and bacon in a ratio of 3:1:1
    • dried herbs (thyme and oregano for me)
    • tin of tomatoes
    • large glass wine and same amount of whole milk
    • olive oil

The vegetables are first softened in olive oil for fifteen minutes or so with a little garlic. Some bacon scraps were browned and added to the vegetables, as was the mince and the chopped chicken livers. I then allowed this to all cook down for ten minutes. Then the wine and milk were added and dried thyme and oregano added to the mix. It was slightly grey at this point and did not in fact look hugely attractive.

After a couple of hours the sauce had started to look a bit more together, although still far from the glossy red more normally seen. Some penne, a twist of salt and pepper and some parmesan finished things off. It was good but not mind-blowing. So, any tips or tricks for making a top notch version?


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  2. For me it's all about the quality of the beef mince - the best bolognese I've had was made with some awesome mince from Smithfield (via Marky Market), and cooked for hours and hours - onion, carrot, celery, ace mince, celery, bay leaves, white wine, milk, tomatoes and S&P.

    Now I's hankering.

  3. Yeah I think that must be the key. Will try again some time with some top-notch beef and cook for three hours maybe.

  4. A star anise per kilo of meat - just rest it on top of the simmering mixture, it gives it an amazing depth.

  5. Ah that sounds interesting, I can imagine it actually, a little fragrant, doing the job of the nutmeg that others use...tvm.