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Ragù alla Bolognese

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Serves six to eight.

Yields about 4-1/2 cups, enough for 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds of pasta.

  • To learn more, read:
    Ragù alla Bolognese
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 53

Gently toss fresh or dried pasta with this ragù the Italian way, ladling it in gradually so it evenly coats the noodles but doesn’t overwhelm or saturate them.

  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 medium carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 medium rib celery, finely diced
  • 1 lb. ground pork (preferably from the shoulder)
  • 1/4 lb. thickly sliced prosciutto di Parma, very finely diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 can (28 oz.) Italian plum tomatoes with their juices, passed through a food mill to remove their seeds
  • 1 cup homemade or low-salt canned chicken broth or beef broth
  • 1/2 cup hot milk

Heat the butter and oil in a small Dutch oven or a wide, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. When the butter begins to foam, add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re lightly golden and soft, 5 to 7 min. Raise the heat to high, add the pork and prosciutto, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring and breaking up the pork with a large spoon until the meat loses its raw color, 3 to 5 min. (the meat won’t brown). Add the wine and cook, stirring, until it’s almost completely reduced, 3 to 5 min.

Ragù alla Bolognese Recipe
Cook the finely diced carrots, onions, and celery in butter and oil until the vegetables are soft and turn light brown.
Ragù alla Bolognese Recipe
Small bits of prosciutto give the sauce rich, full flavor and a traditional Italian feel.

Add the tomatoes and the broth. As soon as the liquid comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cook the sauce at a bare simmer for 2 hours. Add the hot milk and simmer half an hour longer, stirring occasionally. At this point, the sauce should have a thick but saucy consistency and a light reddish-brown color. If the sauce has thickened before the cooking time is up, cover the pot. If the sauce is still too thin at the end of cooking, continue to simmer gently, uncovered, until it’s thick. Taste and adjust the seasonings before serving tossed with your favorite pasta.

Ragù alla Bolognese Recipe
Adding 1/2 cup whole milk to the reduced sauce smooths out and enriches its flavor.
Ragù alla Bolognese Recipe
At the end of cooking, the ragù should have a thick but saucy consistency and a light reddish-brown color, tinted by the addition of the milk.
Drink Suggestions

For wine choices when serving Ragù alla Bolognese, try pouring something Italian that’s light and fruity, such as a Valpolicella, a Dolcetto, or a Sangiovese di Romagna.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on eight servings without pasta; Calories (kcal): 280; Fat (g): fat g 21; Fat Calories (kcal): 190; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 8; Protein (g): protein g 15; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 7; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 620; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 65; Fiber (g): fiber g 1;

Photo: Scott Phillips

This is delicious! I didn't change anything. A real keeper.

Very easy recipe. Delicious meal.

Oh...my... I used half ground pork and half ground (responsibly raised) veal. Otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. This was as good as it gets.

Amazing! I am of Italian heritage and this is as good as any pasta dish my grandmothers ever made. I've made it several times and it's always a hit.

I've made many "authentic" recipes for ragu bolognese, but this one is the best. Great flavors in perfect balance. At first I was skeptical because the recipe calls only for ground pork (in addition to the prosciutto). Well, Biba knows what she's doing. Slow simmered, this recipe is a winner. Paired with homemade tagliatelle it can't be beat. The next best thing to being in Italy.

It is just perfect. In Bologna, we sometimes add to the meat 5% of Parma ham, or salted pancetta (without garlic) for a tastier version. Also, we usually do not add wine. Ragù bolognese should only be used with eggs pasta (therefore spaghetti bolognese is an invention for tourists, and you will never find it in a restaurant in Bologna. If you do, look for another restaurant).

The first time we made it- it was OUTSTANDING- we had people subscribing to fine cooking.. but we haven't had such luck doing it again- but overall- still the best recipe we have found.. the milk part is good..

A satisfying weekend meal.

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