Ragu alla Bolognese

Ragù Alla Bolognese: In Italy, rich sauces made with meat are known as ragù and this form of ragù, otherwise known as Bolognese, became very popular outside of Italy many years ago.  It still remains for many non-Italians, in the top ten of comfort foods.

It’s believed that the original recipe for ‘Ragù alla Bolognese’ which takes its name from the city of Bologna, the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region, and can be traced back to the end of the 1700s. Between 1785 and 1800, Alberto Alvisi was chef to Gregorio Chiarmamonti, the Cardinal of Imola who went on to become Pope Pio VII. Alvisi is said to have cooked the first real tomato-based meat sauce, which was served with a plate of macaroni pasta. By the beginning of the 1800’s, recipes for variations of his tomato-based ragù started to appear in cookbooks in the region. At this time it was a dish that was prepared for special occasions.

In Italy you will not find ‘Spaghetti Bolognese’ listed on a menu or served at a family table. Instead you will be offered Ragù Alla Bolognese served over tagliatelle, fettuccine, gnocchi, pappardelle or any of the more robust pastas that are able to hold such a rich sauce.

Ragù Alla Bolognese Ingredients – 6 – 8 servings

  • 1 lb mixed ground meats: veal, beef (or any meat you choose)
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 medium cloves garlic, crushed
  • 28 oz tinned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 oz tomato puree
  • 1 cup good quality red wine
  • 1 level teaspoon salt
  • 1 level teapoon pepper
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme leaves 1 level teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed

 

Directions

In a large saucepan cook the ground meat and drain off any excess oil and fat.

In a slow cooker continue here:

  1. Place all of the ingredients into the cooking dish and stir to combine.
  2. Cook on medium – low heat for 2 hours
  3. At the very end add a knob or two of butter which will help smooth out the flavours.
  4. Check for seasoning before serving over pasta with a side dish of grated Parmesan cheese

In the oven continue here:

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a deep roasting dish
  2. Stir to combine and seal really well with tin foil
  3. Place in the centre of the oven and cook for 1 1/2 hours
  4. At the very end add a knob or two of butter which will help smooth out the flavours
  5. Check for seasoning before serving over pasta with a side dish of grated Parmesan cheese

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