This really does take over 3 hours to make, but after the first 45 minutes of slowly adding things to the pot, you're pretty much done, and the rest is just old-fashioned Italian-style simmering time.
Interesting things about Bolognese:
- There is a shocking lack of tomato. I actually doubled the tomatoes from the recipe.
- No seasonings. This baby lives on the merit of the the meat, the long simmer, and the power of well-chosen salt.
- While this takes time for the flavours to develop and the fats to break down in the meats, it's one of the simplest sauces to make. Veggies+meat+tomato+liquid=done.
- It's still to die for, and will be perfect atop a bed of homemade spaghetti tomorrow night.
adapted from Mario Batali
1/4 cup olive oil
4 Tbsp butter
2 medium onions, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced small
4 stalks celery, diced small
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 pound ground beef
1 1/2 pounds ground pork [or mild pork sausage]
4 oz. (1/4 lb.) pancetta or bacon, diced small
1/2 cup milk
1-28 oz. can whole tomatoes, crushed by hand, with juices
2 cups broth (I used homemade chicken stock)
1 cup white wine (or more stock if you'd rather)
salt and pepper to taste
Heat butter and oil in an 8-10 quart stock pot. Add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and cook until onions are translucent. Remove vegetables to a bowl and increase heat to as high as you think is safe with your cookware. Brown the meat, working in batches if necessary, and stir to break it up as you go. Mr. Batali says this should take about 20 minutes, and believe it or not, it really does. When the meat is brown and broken up, reduce heat to medium-high, return vegetables to the pot, and add the milk. Bring to boiling and cook until milk is completely gone, about 10 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and juices, bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes. Add broth and wine, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 2-2 1/2 hours. I'd stir occasionally just to make yourself feel better. You can serve immediately, or let it sit overnight in the refrigerator to let the flavours meld and reheat gently with a bit of pasta cooking water when you're nearly ready for dinner.
Mine will be served with fresh spaghetti and plenty of Pecorino Romano cheese.