Slow-Simmered Bolognese Sauce

Slow-Simmered Bolognese Sauce

By Recipe developed for Sur La Table’s Cooking Classes

Makes 5 cups
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 1 rib celery, trimmed and cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into ¼-inch dice
  • 1 ounce prosciutto di Parma, finely chopped
  • ¾ pound ground beef chuck
  • ¾ pound ground pork
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup pre-heated whole milk
  • 1 cup beef or chicken broth, low-sodium
  • 1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomato purée

Known in Italian as ragu alla Bolognese, this meat-based sauce originated in Bologna, considered by many to be Italy’s culinary capital. Traditionally this sauce is slowly cooked and includes the characteristic soffritto of onion, celery and carrot plus different types of ground meats, wine and a small amount of tomato.

Place the oil into a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the celery and carrot and cook, stirring constantly, until just starting to become tender, about 2 minutes. Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring, until just crispy, about 2 minutes. Add the ground meats, season with salt and pepper and cook crumbling the meats with a wooden spoon, stirring until the meats have lost their raw color and become grey, about 5 minutes.

Add the wine to the pot and cook, stirring, until it has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low, add pre-heated milk and cook, stirring occasionally, until the milk has evaporated, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat broth and tomato puree together in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until hot and then add to the meat mixture in the pot. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, for 2½ hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Tip: Make it a day ahead for more flavor. Like many other sauces and soups, Bolognese only gets more delicious after resting in the refrigerator overnight. It gives the ingredients time to mingle for perfect balance and wonderful depth of flavor.

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