Cooking Italy; Bolognese meat sauce
As I mentioned yesterday already I joined the Cooking Italy group that Angela from Spinach Tiger started. It’s great fun and each month she picks four recipes that we cook out of the book ‘The essentials of Italian Classic Cooking” from Marcella Hazan. I’ve been reading in the book and have already learned quite a bit about the Italian cuisine without even cooking much more then the bolognese sauce!
When I first read that I had to cook this sauce for something like more then 3 hours, I was thinking ‘ What???!!! Why???!!!’ but having now actually tasted the full and rich flavors of this dish, I can see why…
I am not convinced I used the correct ground beef. The recipes calls for ground beef chuck, but I have honestly no idea what that is. The chuck part that is and we don’t have a good butcher around here either, so that could pose a bit of a problem for some of the later recipes. But I’ll manage to find a good meat source at some point, I hope.
The recipe itself is really not very hard to make, it just involves a lot of waiting time for fluids to evaporate, add something else, wait for it to evaporate again and repeat. It was a first for me to cook ground beef in milk, but according to Marcella this is to prevent the acidic taste of the tomatoes to get the upper hand. And it worked; I think I can honestly say that this is one of the best bolognese sauces I have tasted so far.
But then, ok, I have to admit it… I have had mostly jar bolognese sauces up till now (sorry Angela! I just read your post about the bolognese sauce so I understand now that using bolognese sauce is really a crime…:) I didn’t know any better!!)
Officially we should have made homemade pasta as well, but I haven’t gotten around to buying the equipment for that yet, so I bought fresh pasta in the store. Tagliatelle.
I also learned that bolognese in Bologna is just never served with spaghetti! I mean, honestly? Isn’t spaghetti bolognese almost famous around these parts? So, as I said; I did learn lots of things today!
The dish was really well received by Tom as well, who loved it. I can see this sauce being made over and over again, as you can vary with this to your hearts content. I will try and get proper beef for next time I make this, but all in all, it was really good and yummy.
BOLOGNESE MEAT SAUCE
2 tbsp of vegetable oil
45 gr butter
85 gr onion, chopped
3 sticks of celery, chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped
350 gr of ground beef chuck (not too lean)
freshly ground black pepper
250 ml full-fat milk
250 ml of dry white wine
500 gr of tinned imported Italian plum tomatoes, cut up with their juice
550-675 gr pasta
freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese to serve
1. Put the oil, butter and chopped onion in the pot, turn the heat to medium and saute the onion until it becomes translucent. Add the chopped celery and carrot. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring the vegetables to coat them well.
2. Add the ground beef, a large pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper. Crumble the beef with a fork, stir well and cook until it has lost its raw red colour.
3. Add the milk and let it simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it has bubbled away completely. Add a tiny grating – about 1/8 teaspoon – of nutmeg and stir.
4. Add the wine, let it simmer until it has evaporated, then add the tomatoes and stir thoroughly to coat all the ingredients well. When the tomatoes begin to bubble, turn the heat down so that the sauce cooks at the laziest of simmers, with just an intermittent bubble breaking through the surface. Cook, uncovered, for 3 hours or more, stirring from time to time. While the sauce is cooking, you are likely to find that it begins to dry out and the fat separates from the meat. To keep it from sticking, continue the cooking, adding 125 ml water whenever necessary. At the end, however, no water at all must be left and the fat must separate from the sauce. Taste and correct for salt.
5. Toss with cooked, drained pasta and serve with freshly grated Parmesan on the side.
I am looking forward to trying the next recipe!!