Serves a Crowd

Bolognese Ragu

November 10, 2015
2 Ratings
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

Serve with light potato gnocchi. Recipe adapted slightly from Samin Nosrat in Cooked by Michael Pollan. 8 (Penguin, 2014). —Jill Santopietro

What You'll Need
  • For the spice sachet:
  • 3 parsley stems
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper corns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 3-inch Parmesan rind
  • 1 3-inch orange rind
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • For the ragu:
  • 1 cup pure virgin olive oil (not extra-virgin)
  • 2/3 cup pancetta, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 pound veal (pork or beef may be substituted)
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 medium red onions, peeled
  • 2 large celery stalks
  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 28 ounces (1 can) whole San Marzano tomatoes, drained and crushed
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • Lemon
  • Handful of Parmesan, plus more for serving
  • Few tablespoons unsalted butter
  1. Prepare the sachet: Combine all ingredients in a sachet bag and tie together; set aside.
  2. Make the ragu: Set a large skillet over medium-high heat and add just enough oil to coat the pan. If you choose, add the pancetta and cook until the fat has rendered and the pancetta has browned. Use a slotted spoon to transfer it to a large bowl.
  3. Add the ground veal to the skillet and cook, breaking into small pieces, over high heat until it just starts to brown. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the bowl of pancetta. Drain excess liquid from the skillet. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil, and repeat step 3 with the ground beef and again with the ground pork. Set cooked meats aside.
  4. Finely chop the onions, celery, and carrots. (They should be small enough to dissolve into the sauce.) Use a paper towel to wipe out the skillet. Add enough olive oil to generously coat the skillet (about 1/2 a cup.) Add the chopped onions, celery, and carrots, and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 25 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Push the vegetables to one side of the skillet, add the tomato paste to the empty side,and toast over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes. Stir in the meats and let simmer for a few minutes to meld. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and simmer until nearly evaporated. Add the tomatoes and the spice sachet and let simmer, for about 5 minutes. Add enough stock to just cover and let simmer until slightly reduced, then add enough milk to just cover, and let it simmer until slightly reduced. Keep adding stock and milk until you’ve added it all. The ragu should simmer for about 2 to 3 hours total. Season to taste with lots of salt and some pepper, a squeeze of lemon, a handful of Parmesan cheese and extra-virgin olive oil. Remove sachet. Set aside a quart of ragu for feeding 4 to 5 people. Cool excess ragu and freeze.
  6. When ready to serve, heat 1 quart of ragu and stir in 2 tablespoons of butter. Season to taste with more salt and Parmesan cheese, then add about 1 pound of cooked al dente pasta and stir to combine. Loosen with pasta cooking water as needed. Serve immediately in hot pasta plates with more Parmesan cheese.

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