For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Ragù Alla Bolognese: The Real Thing

This is the ultimate authentic recipe for spaghetti bolognese or, as we have now learnt to call it, ragù alla bolognese. It's based on America's Test Kitchens' recipe via Cook's Illustrated (thanks, Ruth!) and also on Antonio Caluccio's classic recipe. First, transform your kitchen into cool monochrome (optional)...

Then assemble from left to right some pancetta (I used English streaky bacon), some minced pork and beef, some tomato paste (I used tomato purée), some chicken stock (I happened to have some real, homemade chicken stock — yum!), a mirepoix of finely chopped carrot, celery and onion, salt and pepper, some fresh egg tagliatelle, a glass of red wine, some butter and a wedge of Parmesan cheese (I know Romano and Grana Padano are less expensive, but you can't beat the salty depth of Parmigiano in this dish).

Gently fry the pancetta, carrot, celery and onion in butter for 10 min, then added the minced meats and fry for a further 10 min. Add the wine, reduce, stir in some stock and the tomato paste. Simmer for 1 and a half hours, adding more stock when the mixture becomes dry. Season if necessary (I found it needed hardly any seasoning). Remember: no garlic, no herbs, no canned tomatoes! Cook the tagliatelle for a few minutes in boiling water until al dente, drain and combine with the sauce. Sprinkle liberally with Parmesan.

Enjoy with a glass of red wine, preferably Italian. You'll find the tagliatelle winds easily round a fork so no spoon necessary! This is a fabulous, utterly satisfying dish, of a rich, deep flavour. It kept me happy all evening.

12 comments:

Arija said...

Sounds divine and a great way to get veggies into carnivorous grandson. Accompanied of course by a glass of wine or two.

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, I think he would love this, Arija. In my experience kids love pasta full stop. And the taste of the sauce is out of this world — really! I've often tried to make this the bastardised, non-Italian way, with bitter canned tomatoes, garlic, herbs, and it's just not right. For me, anyway. The combination of ingredients and the rich, deep flavour of this ragù (and the fresh pasta — much, much preferable to dried, there's no comparison) makes it a classic dish. Immensely enjoyable. It's tagliatelle carbonara tonight (still have fresh pasta to use up)!

George said...

Looks absolutely fabulous, Robert. I must try this immediately. Beautifully made and presented by you!

Ruth said...

So glad it is as delicious as it sounded!! And I confess your instructions make it sound easier, so thanks for that. Must try soon, and the fresh pasta seems a must when you go to the extra expense and work of this fine sauce!

The Solitary Walker said...

I thought you were vegetarian, George?!

Let me know how you get on, Ruth. It's dead easy (the American Test Kitchens recipe is excellent, but perhaps a little too fussy.) Honestly, if you follow my simplified version, you can't go wrong. Quantities: I used 60 gm streaky bacon, 125 gm beef, 125 gm pork, 3 tbsp tomato purée and just guessed the amount of pasta. That should be enough for 2 or 3 servings at least.

Phreerunner said...

Excellent - another one for the recipe book. Thanks.

The Weaver of Grass said...

How dare you put this tantalising photograph on on the day I have been out all day and have had to prepare beans on toast quickly for tea!

The Solitary Walker said...

Hope you enjoy it as much as the tartiflette, Phreerunner!

Nothing wrong with beans on toast, Pat. I love it!

Martin said...

Oh I do like the look of that! Will make it tomorrow night : )

The Solitary Walker said...

Hope you enjoy, Martin!

Martin said...

It was very good, thanks : )

The Solitary Walker said...

Hey, pleased it was a success, Martin!