Maureen Fraîche

Mixing Business and Pleasure in the Kitchen

Ragu´ alla Bolognese

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I have had this serious desire for some real lasagne.  So serious that I made this delicious bolognese today and will make fresh pasta tomorrow.  Layered with besciamella (or bechamel, in French) and freshly grated parmigiano, this is a truly authentic lasagne al forno.  I will, of course, do a post for the fresh pasta as well as for the construction of the final masterpiece.

The recipe I use here is an adaptation from Saveur Cooks Authentic Italian.  What a beautiful cookbook!  The photography alone makes this one worth owning, not to mention the authentic cuisine.

A few thoughts before you get going:

  • The original recipe in Saveur includes 2 chicken livers, finely chopped and added with the prosciutto.  I chose to omit these, largely because I didn’t have any chicken livers handy.  I suppose if I had been planning on a roast chicken for this week, I could have saved the liver to use with this, but such was not the case.  If you’d like to try adding the livers, let me know how it goes!
  • You’ll see this recipe does not include any herbs.  While the sauce is delicious without and certainly not lacking in flavor, you could add a bit of your favorite Italian herbs–oregano, basil, marjoram, parsley, etc.–if desired.

Ragu´ alla Bolognese
Makes about 6 cups

Ingredients

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 rib celery, minced
½ medium carrot, minced
3 ounces prosciutto, finely chopped
1 pound ground chuck
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup dry white wine
1 cup milk, hot
1 cup beef broth
1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes

Heat your oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and saute until softenened, but not browned.  Add the celery and carrot and cook a few minutes more.  Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for about 3 minutes.  Now add the ground chuck, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until mostly cooked but still pink here and there.  Avoid frying or over-browning the meat to keep things tender.  Season with salt and pepper.

Stir in the wine and cook until it evaporates.  Reduce the heat to medium and add your hot milk, stirring occasionally until this also evaporates.  Now pour in the broth and crushed tomatoes.  Stir well and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low, cover partially, and gently simmer for 2 ½ to 3 hours, stirring occasionally.  Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.

Nutrition information per serving (1/12 of recipe, or about ½ cup): 180 calories, 12 g total fat, 5 g saturated fat, 6.5 g carbohydrate, 2.5 g fiber, 9 g protein

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