A: Bolognese sauce is a meat based sauce mainly used for pasta dishes (lasagna and spaghetti Bolognese) originating form a small town in Italy named Bologna. It is best for the sauce to have a long cooking time (5-6 hours) this makes the meat become very tender and allows all the flavours to really develop into a wonderfully rich tasty sauce.
There are 4 important points to remember when making a Bolognaise (from Bologna) sauce.
- Chop the vegetables to about 2mm squares. They should be of equal size, and a small as possible so as not to be identified once the sauce is cooked.
- The meat must be sautéed just barely long enough to lose its raw colour. It must not brown or it will lose delicacy.
- It must be cooked in milk before the tomatoes are added. This keeps the meat creamier and sweeter tasting.
- It must cook at the merest simmer for a long, long time, up to 5 hours.
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
3T (45g) butter
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
4 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
500g minced lean beef
1 cup (250ml) dry red or white wine
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
1 tin chopped tomatoes
- In a heavy casserole dish or pot, the deepest one you have, melt the butter with the oil (oil prevents butter from burning). Sauté the onion briefly over medium heat, until just translucent. Add the celery and carrot and cook gently until fragrant and soft, over a low heat, taking care that the onions do not change colour.
- Add the minced beef, crumbling it in the pot with a fork. Add salt to taste, stir, and cook only until the meat has lost its raw, red colour.
- Add the wine; turn the heat up to medium high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the wine has evaporated.
- Turn the heat down to medium, add the milk and the nutmeg, and cook until the milk has evaporated. Stir frequently.
- When the milk has evaporated, add the tomatoes and stir thoroughly.
- When the tomatoes have started to bubble, turn the heat down until the sauce cooks at the gentlest simmer, just an occasional bubble. Cook, covered, for a minimum of 31/2 to 5 hours, stirring occasionally (add water, a 1/2 cup at a time if it seems too dry). Taste and check seasoning. (If you cannot keep an eye on the sauce for such a long stretch, you can turn off the heat and resume cooking it later on. But do finish cooking it in one day).
- Serve with short pastas as the Italians do, or with spaghetti as the Americans do, or use as a sauce for lasagne.
Serves 4, for 500g dried pasta
Note: The sauce can be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days, or frozen. Reheat and simmer for about 15 minutes before using.
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