Variation on Spaghetti Bolognese sauce (Ragù alla bolognese)
- 250 grams (9 oz) Minced beef
- 250 grams (9 oz) Minced pork (shoulder)
- 200 grams (7 oz) Pork sausages
- 90 ml (3 1/2 fl oz) Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Onion – medium size (finely chopped)
- 1 Carrot – medium size (finely chopped)
- 2 Celery stalks with some leaves (finely chopped)
- 10 grams (1/2 oz) Dried porcini mushrooms (penny buns/ceps)
- 2 Beef stock cube (use this to prepare about 850 ml – 1 1/2 pint stock)
- 150 ml (1/4 pint) White wine
- 150 ml (1/4 pint) Sieved tomatoes (passata di pomodoro)
- Salt and black ground pepper for seasoning
- BEEF STOCKFirst and foremost, before you start cooking, be sure that the first thing you do is to prepare the stock so that it is readily available when required. The best thing to do is to have the stock just simmering, and no more, on the cooker.PANSFor the ragù alla bolognese 2, I suggest using 1 large sauté casserole (about 30 cm – 12" wide) and 1 deep sauce pan (for this recipe I used a 22 cm – 8 3/4" wide and 15 cm – 6" deep sauce pan). The deep sauce pan is useful because this time we are going to add more beef stock than we did in the ragù alla bolognese traditional recipe. Put 45 ml (3 tablespoons) of olive oil in each pan.MUSHROOMSBefore you start cooking, rinse the dried mushrooms under fresh running water to eliminate impurities like sands, small pieces of wood etc. Next, soak the mushrooms in a small bowl with hot water for about 10 minutes. Then, take the mushrooms from the bowl and squeeze them to eliminate excess water. Finally, chop them and set aside.SAUSAGESBefore you start cooking, remove the skin and discard it. Then, mix the sausage meat with the pork mince and set aside.
- Start cooking, following the same instructions as shown in the ragù alla bolognese traditional recipe. Brown the meat in the large sauté casserole and sweat off the vegetables in the deep sauce pan. Sweat off the vegetable (onion, carrot and celery) for 5 minutes until they are soft, then add the chopped mushrooms as shown in the photograph and continue cooking for about 3 minutes. Next, put all the browned meat into the deep sauce pan together with the vegetables and from now on all the cooking will be done using the deep sauce pan, so you can put the sauté casserole away.
- Follow the instructions given in ragù alla bolognese traditional recipe until the stage of adding the beef stock. Add the hot stock to cover (this time, I added about 850 ml – 3 1/2 cups because the simmering stage will be very long). Now everything is ready for the simmering stage. Bring the heat to very low.
- Cover with a lid and…
- …simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
- After 3 hours of simmering, remove the lid and continue simmering for another 3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is reduced to the right consistency (having completed the sixth hour, the sauce should have lost most of the water and should be ready to top the pasta). However, if the ragù is still a bit watery after six hours, do not be worried about simmering for an extra half an hour or more, if required, because the more you simmer the better. Just remember, one hour before the end, season with salt according to taste. I suggest doing the seasoning at this late stage when the sauce has lost most of the water.Finally, we have got the ragù alla bolognese (variation of the traditional recipe). Now it is up to you how to use it. You can top pasta, you can use it for lasagne or put part of the sauce in the freezer to use the first time you are in a rush!