Bolognese is one of the most popular sauces, and once of the easiest to eat (this is the first sauce that I ate with Pasta). When I first started learning how to cook, I thought that Bolognese is just stir fried minced meat tossed with tomato purée, so I always made it like that. When I was in England, I made it for my friend (also my housemate), and I ‘proudly’ told her that it was Italian Bolognese It’s not until much later when I read more recipes and documents on this dish that I realized I’ve made a total mess of what I’ve been calling “Bolognese”, and if any Italian chef happen to see my version of their traditional sauce, they would surely faint from horror
The real Italian name of Bolognese sauce is ragù, and even though there are a lot of different recipes and directions, they all have the same basic ingredients, and according to the recipe that the Academia Italiana della Cucina registered with Bologna Chamber of Commerce, every Bolognese sauce contains the following ingredients: onion, celery, carrot, minced beef, pancetta, tomato, milk and wine.
- Onion, carrot and celery have to be chopped very finely, and try to chop them as uniformly as possible. That way the vegetables will be cooked uniformly, and the final texture of the sauce will be much more enjoyable.
- Meat: the most usually used meat is beef, but we can totally mix in some minced pork. Veal is also used in some recipes. Pancetta (Italian cured meat) is also used in Bolognese sauce, in our homemade version we can use normal bacon/cured meat to replicate the taste.
- Tomato is not the main ingredient in this sauce. All recipes for Bolognese only use a small amount of tomato to create the taste, but Bolognese is a meat sauce so the main taste still has to be meat.
- Seasonings used for Bolognese sauce is simply salt and pepper (according to what I’ve read, Italian chef don’t use any herbs or other seasonings in their sauce)
- Milk is used to create the signature orange-ish color of Bolognese, and it also helps tenderize the meat.
- Pasta: I’ve always thought that Bolognese can be eaten with any type of pasta, especially with spaghetti, but through a lot of readings I’ve found out that it’s better to use wide pasta that can hold the meat sauce, and the most used is tagliatelle.
- Wine: Red wine is usually used in Bolognese, but you can replace with white wine to. During the cooking process the alcohol will evaporate so you don’t feel the wine at all in the sauce, and kids can still eat this. I myself am not a big fan of wine, but I’ve tried cooking Bolognese 2 ways and I have to admit that adding wine make the taste much richer. If you really don’t want to use or don’t have wine, you can replace with beef broth or water
Công thức tiếng Việt: Mì Ý sốt Bolognese (sốt thịt bò bằm)
Cooking time: 2,5 hours – 3 hours
Servings: 4-5 people
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 stalk of celery
- 1 tablespoon oil/olive oil
- 30g butter
- 80g lardon/bacon
- 200g minced beef
- 200g minced pork
- 100ml red white
- 70g concentrated tomato + 200ml water (can be substituted with 250g canned tomato)
- 100ml full-fat milk
- Tagliatelle, or any pasta of your choice
A. Making the sauce:
1. Finely dice the onion, carrot and celery. Heat up a saucepan on medium heat, put in the oil and the butter, when the butter is melted pour in the vegetable mixture and cook for 10-15 minutes until the vegetable is tender. Then add the lardon/bacon and toss for another 10 minutes.
2. Add the minced meat, use a spoon to break up the meat and mix it in with all the vegetable and lardon. Cook for 15 minutes until you see some caramelization on at the bottom of the pan, pour in the wine and cook for another 10 minutes until the meat absorb all the liquid.
3. Dissolve the concentrated tomato with water, pour in the meat mixture and mix well. Reduce to low heat, loosely cover the pan and simmer for 2 hour. Then open the lid, increase the heat to medium and add in the milk, season to your liking and cook for another 20-30 minutes until it reaches the thickness that you like.
B. Cooking the pasta:
Boil some water in a saucepan, add in some salt, reduce to medium heat and follow the direction on the package until the pasta is cooked al dente (firm to the bite). Drain well.
After you’re done cooking the pasta, all that’s left to do is to serve it on a plate, pour some Bolognese sauce on top, sprinkle some parmesan and eat Another way to serve this dish is to toss the pasta in the sauce, I personally prefer this way since the sauce is distributed more evenly, and the pasta absorb the sauce better as well.
Although the ingredients for Bolognese sauce are a bit complicated, and the cooking time is quite long, the cooking procedure is very simple, and the sauce is so delicious that it’s all worth it. I usually make a big batch and then portion it to freeze, and it’s good with pasta or bread, or as a dipping sauce for bread sticks or chips