The Emilia Romagna region of Italy is known for food. It’s home to Parma where the famous ham originates and Modena, which is famous for its balsamic vinegar. And of course, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is made in this area.
Bologna, the capital of Emilia Romagna, is also famous for bolognese sauce or ragù alla bolognese. Traditional bolognese sauce is different from the tomato and meat sauce we often get in the US.
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There should actually be very little liquid, the meat being the primary ingredient.
When served with pasta, typically a long wide egg noodle called tagliatelle, the pasta should have a very light coating of sauce.
It is also a thick meaty sauce which goes perfectly in lasagna.
Here’s our recipe for a traditional bolognese, which is slowly cooked to perfection and well worth the time involved.
We also have a quick and easy “Bolognese Made Simple” recipe for those days when you don’t have a few hours to allow the sauce to simmer.
Here are a few additional Italian inspired recipes you might enjoy:
- 1 (15 ml) tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons (60 g) butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 lb (450 g) ground beef, or combination of ground beef, ground pork, and/or ground veal
- 1 beef bullion cube
- 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
- Pinch nutmeg or cinnamon
- 1 cup (240 ml) dry white wine
- 1 16 oz (450 g) can of Italian plum tomatoes, with their juice
- 1 ½ lbs. (675 g) fresh tagliatelli pasta
- Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese at the table
- Put the oil, butter and chopped onion in the pot at medium heat. Cook and stir the onion until it has become translucent, then add the chopped celery and carrot. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring vegetables to coat them well.
- Add ground meat and crushed bullion cube. Crumble the meat with a fork, stir well and cook until browned.
- Add milk and let it simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it all the liquid has completely evaporated.
- Add a cinnamon/nutmeg, and stir.
- Add the wine, let it simmer until it has evaporated, then add the tomatoes and mix thoroughly. Bring just to a boil, then turn the heat down to a light simmer.
- Cook, uncovered, for 3 hours, stirring from time to time.
- If the sauce starts drying up while cooking, add water as necessary. The finished sauce, however, should be basically dry, with no water left at all. Salt to taste.
- Prepare the tagliatelle in salted water per package directions.
- Toss with cooked drained tagliatelle pasta, adding the tablespoon of butter, and serve with freshly grated Parmesan on the side.