Makes 6 servings
Bolognese is essentially a meat stew with a small amount of tomato added— although Americans often confuse it for a tomato sauce with some meat added. The sauce is cooked slowly to develop a deep, rich flavor. In Italy it is traditionally served with tagliatelle pasta and Parmigiano-Reggiano, but you may choose another pasta if you’d like. It is also delicious in lasagna or served over creamy polenta.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 cup peeled, small-dice celery
- 1 cup peeled, small-dice carrot
- 6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 lb pancetta, finely chopped
- 1 lb ground veal
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1/2 lb 85% ground beef
- 3/4 cup whole milk
- One 14.5-oz can whole plum tomatoes
- 2 cups Beef Broth, plus more as needed
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 1/2 lb fresh tagliatelle pasta, or dried pasta
- 1/3 cup kosher salt, plus more as needed
- Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
- 4 oz freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- In a Dutch oven or saucepan, warm the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. Cover and cook until the onions are transparent, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a 10- to 12-inch heavy-bottomed or cast-iron pan over medium heat, and bring it just to the smoke point, the point at which you start to see small wisps of smoke coming from the hot oil. Working in small batches, add some of the pancetta, veal, pork, and beef to the pan. Add enough meat to cover threequarters of the surface area of the pan. Increase the heat to high. You should only add an amount of meat that can brown lightly without burning or boiling in its own juices as they render; you will need to do this in several batches in order to avoid overcrowding the pan. Cook each batch of meat until the fat renders and the meat is browned, 10 to 16 minutes. Transfer the meat to the Dutch oven, or to a slow cooker along with the vegetable mixture.
- When all the meat has been browned, add the milk to the Dutch oven or slow cooker. Simmer over high heat until all of the milk has reduced and there is none left in the pot. Add the tomatoes, crushing them with your hand before adding them to the pot. Simmer for about 15 minutes more. Add the beef broth and wine, increase the heat to bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to establish a gentle simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours in the Dutch oven, or 3 to 4 hours on low in the slow cooker, adding more broth if necessary during cooking. At the end of the cooking time, the consistency should be thick and heavy.
- Ten minutes before serving, add the pasta to a large pot with 6 quarts of boiling salted water and season with 1/3 cup of salt. Boil the pasta, stirring occasionally, until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes for fresh pasta, or according to the package instructions. (The Italian term al dente means “to the tooth” or “to the bite,” referring to the need to chew the pasta due to its firmness.) Drain the pasta.
- To serve, season the sauce with salt and pepper as needed. Pour the ragú over the cooked pasta and top with the cheese.