Ragu Bolognese

No one has to tell me that the classic ragu Bolognese incorporates chicken livers into its meat mixture.  I also know that traditionally, the beef is chunked and braised and then stewed in the sauce until medium pressure causes it to fall apart.  Well, I didn’t have any chicken livers or streaks around, I had ground beef instead.  So here’s how I did it.

1 lb. ground beef
12 roma tomatoes
4 oz. heavy whipping cream
1 carrot
2 onions
1 stalk celery
1 red pepper
1 cup red wine (I used a Nebbiolo that had been half drunk)
black pepper
garlic — generous
bay leaf
parsley — generous
heel of Parmesean cheese

Peel carrot.  Destem and deseed pepper.  In food processor, combine carrot, pepper, one onion, and celery stalk until liquefied.  Place vegetable mixture in the bottom of a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Then, liquefy the other onion and combine with beef in saute pan.  Stir until browned, add to vegetable mix.  Then, destem and pulverize the tomatoes.  Trim the heel from the cheese and cut into approx. 1″ wafers.  Add all remaining ingredients to pot except for cream.  Simmer for 4-5 hours, until excess liquid is reduced.  About fifteen minutes before serving, fold in cream.

I know there aren’t chicken livers, but there’s plenty of umami to go around. There are countless variations available, of course; this sauce gets altered a lot.  The thing to remember is that this is a meat sauce with tomatoes — not tomato sauce with ground beef added.  The meat is what it’s all about, not the tomato.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.