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Bolognese - what and when to add what...

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I hear many a difference recipes for bolognese and, well, I always hate to just use something off of foodnetwork.com or what have you....what I usually do is look at a bunch of recipes, ingredients, etc. then form my own recipe and give it a shot.

With something as simple as a good bolognese sauce this doesn't seem to be working! Cream or no cream, or milk, or white wine or red wine, etc. etc. then there is the when to add each!

Anyone point me in the right direction?

Also can i make a bunch and freeze? I have a 6qt Le Creuset warmin up (well not yet....i'm still at work)
post #2 of 17
There is no standardized bolognese. The constants seem to be a tomato sauces starting with ground or minced meat added to a mirepoix (in Italian cooking called a battutto).

The meat(s) can be pork, beef, veal or some combination. In addition, finely diced bacon, pancetta, pork-belly or ham is sometimes added. Sometimes a smoked pork chop. We like ground beef and pork with diced smoked ham or pork chop and minced chicken(!).

No wine? You've got to be kidding. But it can be white, red, or even something like a dry vermouth or marsala. Your call.

Bologna is dairy country so some sort of milk or cream is typical. Indeed, the sauce is typically more pink than red. I prefer 1/2 and 1/2 to milk or cream; milk to cream, milk or cream to no milk or cream. But again, there are no absolutes on this.

About 20 years ago it got kind of cutting-edge to add vodka to bolognese or similar sauces. Definitely a trendoid whose time has passed. IMO, it's pretentious, expensive and adds nothing. Still, everyone has to try it once.

Marcella Hazan has a good, simple recipe based on ground beef. There's one still better from a 2002 (?) Gourmet Magazine article by Mario Batali -- you really can't do better than this recipe. You can find them on the net.

If you want to get creative, try substituting an inexpensive Madeira (e.g., San Antonio Winery -- Los Angeles, CA) or an inexpensive fino sherry for the white wine.

BDL
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
this one look ok?

Bolognese Sauce Recipe at Epicurious.com

also, whenever they say "dry white wine" I always never know what a dry white wine is....so I usually default to a (gasp) cooking wine.

I was looking at this recipe prior to the batalli one
SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE (Recipe) @ Emeril's dot com

I like the sausage idea and regardless of what recipe I concoct (like i said, i hate following just one recipe) I think I'll throw in some italian hot sausage.
post #4 of 17
Depends who is making it. Lidia Bastianich calls it a soffrito as does Hazan...
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #5 of 17
Bolognese has become sooooo every day. I simply cant get cheffy about it. Most folk I know dont even brown the meat and simply add a jar of Ragu, et voila!
My only must do's are to brown the meat and onions well/ add plenty of lea and perrins. Any old red wine will do, but the pasta must be first rate, cooked with Malden salt. And a decent wedge of parmesan and potato peeler on the table along with lots of bread (Guilty pleasure is cheap supermarket garlic bread)
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #6 of 17
RPM -- The epicurious recipe is the Batali/Gourmet recipe I wrote about. The Emeril recipe looks good too. Personally, I'd stay away from any heavily seasoned sausage unless for those particular seasonings. But to each their own.

phatch -- I only speak a little culinary and less conversational Italian. I believe a soffritto may contain ingredients other than the three basic aromatics of a battutto. Also, I believe battutto is the uncooked mixture of onions, celery and carrots. while the term soffritto is applied after the mixture, whatever it is, has been cooked down. I seem to remember soffrigiere means "fry" in Italian.

bug -- Och aye.

BDL
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Well one thing I have perfected is garlic bread! so no worries there....

its on the stove now, and I always use fresh parm, and all fresh herbs. It's certainly smelling good and the main reason I wanted to make this was to add some hot italian sausage as everytime I have Bolognese I always think how much better it would be with some hot sausage :)

we'll see....
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 



came out great! used my own kinda recipe a little from both that I posed.

Used some hot italian sausage and believe it or not, you couldnt notice it much, but it gave it a great taste! I used a Madeira wine as well...came out really good. I'm really happy with the cast iron as well.


post #9 of 17
Nice, McMurphy! May I have a taste?
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
are you in NJ if so SURE! haha. I'd love to have other cooking enthusiasts over for critiquing. :chef:
post #11 of 17
I used to live in Moorestown, Burlington County. But on the other side of the country now. So I miss out.
post #12 of 17
Your sauce looks good indeed, but it doesn't really look like a true, traditional bolognese. Too much tomato. Authentic bolognese has very little tomato product in it, maybe just a few small spoonfuls of tomato paste. Here are general directions for how I make mine: (the key to a great bolognese is long slow cooking at all stages)
-take 1 part carrot, 1 part celery and 2 parts onion, all finely chopped and slowly saute them, in olive oil until the whole mess is golden brown, adding a couple of cloves of minced garlic half way through. This should take a minimum of 20-30 minutes to really develop the flavor.
-add your meats next. I always use three kinds: ground beef for 1, ground pork or veal for 2, and usually either panchetta or proscuitto for 3 (though I have been know to use high quality ham if panchetta or proscuitto is unavailable. Slowly brown these meats.
-next add a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste and cook until starting to caramelize.
-add red wine. At least 1 bottle or 2 depending on how much meat and veggies you have. Leave uncovered and allow to slowly simmer (bubbles only occassionally break the surface). At this point I also lightly season with salt and pepper, a little basil and just a hint of oregano (not traditional but I like it). Don't over season at this point as things are going to reduce.
-Allow to slowly simmer until the sauce is thick and starting to glaze the meat. Again the long slow simmer is what really develops the flavor in this dish so I usually allow this process to take 2 hours minimum.
-At this point I add 1/2 - 1 cup of heavy cream (whole milk is traditional but I like the richness the cream gives). Reduce until thickened again.
-Serve over pasta, tagliatelle is tradtional, but any will do. Reserve a little of the cooking liquid to thin the bolognese ragu if it is too thick. Check for seasoning just before serving.
post #13 of 17
Just a couple of comments from italy
From what i can gather,after 35 years here, battuto is what they call it in rome and it usually means chopped up pork fat in with the onion, etc.
"Battuto" comes from "battere" meaning beat, the origin probably being the knife bangs on the board to cut it all up
Usually "soffritto" means literally "under-fry" like "sobollire" means "under-boil" or simmer
I think they are pretty interchangeable and the terms are regional preferences
.
I never had a bolognese in bologna, and i assume every family in bologna has its own version, like everything else. However the "Accademia Italiana della Cucina e l'associazione Confraternita del Tortellino" (which (get this) means italian academy of cooking and the confraternity of the tortellino) has registered ragu alla bolognese as a historically important recipe with the chamber of commerce in bologna.
the beef is supposed to be from a part of the animal near the stomach which is particularly fatty. I'll translate the recipe i found which claims to be the traditional one.
However, notice that a major problem with american presentations of pasta, is that an italian would never serve the pasta with the sauce on top, but the sauce must be mixed with the pasta as soon as you drain it, or it gets all sticky and disgusting. This keeps the pasta separate.

Here's the traditional recipe for 4 portions (sauce alone has 700 calories per serving.
300 grams of this beef mentioned above called "cartella", ground
150 grams of unsmoked and unsalted fatty bacon meat (pancetta dolce) minced
1 carrot
1 celery
1 onion (each about 50 gm)
5 spoonfuls of tomato paste mixed with a ladleful of broth
1/2 glass of white or red wine
200 grams of whole milk

melt the bacon in a pan. Add the finely chopped vegetables and let them slowly get soft. Add the ground meat and let it cook, mixing occasionally, until it gets slightly browned. Add the wine and the tomato paste mixed with broth and let it simmer for 2 hours, adding milk a little at a time, and seasoning with salt and black pepper.
If you like you can add at the end, about a half a cup of heavy cream.

Most people today make it with lean beef and pork, and use tomatoes not paste, and no milk or cream. It's those calories that they try to eliminate.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #14 of 17
Cooks Illustrated did an interesting deconstruction of a bolognese last month. They talked about most of the questions you asked.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
thanks, i ended up using batallis and emerils recipes....pictures look deceiving s far as how red it was, but i DID add a tad more tomatos than batalli called for but way less than emeril as I wanted a little more.

and I usually toss my pasta in my sauce.....but well...that doesnt make good for pretty pictures hahaha.

siduri , i used your recipe almost to a T, but just added some more tomato in it. I used a 50/50 of veal and pork, and threw in some hot sausage to my liking.

thanks for all of the recommendations guys!
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Someone gave me some nice not-fresh but not barilla tagliatelle so I may whip up a bolognese again tonight...in a little more "traditional" fashion and not add as much tomatoes as last time.
post #17 of 17
RPMcMurphy: Thanks for those two links they gave me ideas for a meal one night. That pasta looks ver appetizing good job.

Thanks for the little Italian lesson at least i learned somthing very interesting today hehe.
Lets cook the night away!
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Lets cook the night away!
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