My favorite bolognese, or meat sauce, is this Ragu Alla Bolognese from Cooking Light. The recipe was published in 2002 and since then, I’ve modified (and doubled) the recipe to our preferences. The longer it simmers, the better it tastes.
Our Favorite Bolognese
Serves 14 to 16 (Freeze the leftover sauce in individual or meal size portions.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped celery
1 cup finely chopped carrot (Note: I like to puree the onion, celery and carrot in a food processor for a finer texture in the sauce.)
2 pounds ground beef
2 cups dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2-4 bay leaves
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 (10 3/4-ounce) cans tomato puree
1 1/2 cups whole milk, half and half, or heavy cream
4 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrot; cover and cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove onion mixture from pan.
2. Add beef to pan; cook over medium heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Add wine, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and bay leaf; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes. Add the onion mixture, broth, and tomato puree; bring to a simmer. Cook 1 hour, stirring occasionally. (Note: I’ve been known to let this simmer for four hours or more. It concentrates the flavor and makes the beef super tender. Just make sure the top level of the liquid never goes below the level of the meat and veggies.)
3. Stir in milk, half and half or cream, and minced parsley; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes (or more). Discard bay leaves.
4. Serve with your favorite pasta and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.