Ragù Bolognese with Tagliatelle
Excerpted from Old World Italian
Spaghetti Bolognese, the most famous Italian dish in the world, doesn’t really exist. Well, at least not in Bologna. The mayor of Bologna recently got so tired of this misunderstanding that he took to the media to put the spaghetti connection to rest, for in Bologna, ragù is served with tagliatelle, which, along with tortellini and lasagne, are the best known pastas of Emilia-Romagna. Ragù (meat sauce) originally comes from Bologna and this is undisputed. There is even an official version of this most famous of sauces, but many cooks, even in the ragù’s hometown, apply their own twist. I’ve put a lot of work and time into the research: I’ve tried count- less wonderful versions, and all the really good ones are quite similar but with subtle differences. One chef includes liver in the sauce, which makes it more gamy; another uses a lot of liquid and reduces like crazy until he has the desired consistency. But the one I loved the most is very true to the original recipe. No particular tricks, just a respect for tradition, great ingredients, and thoughtful execution.
Yield: 4-6 Servings
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large carrot, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 large celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ pound / 230 g ground pork shoulder
- 10 ounces / 300 g ground beef
- ⅔ cup / 160 ml red wine
- 2 cups / 500 ml tomato passata (strained puree of raw tomatoes)
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup / 250 ml beef stock, plus more if needed fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound / 500 g tagliatelle pasta, fresh or dried
- grated parmesan cheese, for serving
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrot, onion, celery, and oregano. Cook until slightly colored, about 5 minutes. Add the pork and cook until browned, then add the beef and cook until browned, about 8 minutes. Add the red wine and cook for 2 minutes to reduce.
- Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the tomato passata and tomato paste. Add the beef stock and stir well until the tomato paste is incorporated. Season with salt and black pepper. Reduce the heat to as low as possible. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, adding a few tablespoons of beef stock if the mixture looks a little dry, until you get a smooth and rich sauce, about 3 hours.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the tagliatelle to the boiling water and cook to al dente according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, toss into the ragù sauce, and mix gently to combine. Serve immediately with grated Parmesan.
Excerpted from Old World Italian: Recipes and Secrets from our Travels in Italy by Mimi Thorisson. Copyright © 2020 Marie-France Thorisson.
Photography Copyright © 2020 Oddur Thorisson.
Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.