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Bolognonese sauce-cream or no cream?

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
Is there a last word on adding a little cream to a traditional bolognese sauce? I've checked several 'traditional' sources, and some use cream, some don't. I know Italian cuisine is really regional, with lots of differences between the regions, but - correct me if I'm wrong, please! - the sauce comes from the region of Bologna!

I personally like the addition of a little cream to finish the sauce, but I'd love to hear others' opinions.
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post #2 of 39
I thought it was finished with a little milk, not cream.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #3 of 39

Different strokes for different folks

Everywhere you eat this sauce you will find a different variation.
I have always finished mine with a touch of milk
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post #4 of 39
Marcella Hazan, in Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, uses milk but she uses it after the meat is browned before anything else is added. She browns the meat, adds the milke and cooks it "dry". Then she adds wine and reduces it and then the tomatoes.
At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals.
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At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals.
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post #5 of 39
Kyle this is a very good point, I would imagine the lactic acids in the milk will help to tenderize the meats as they cook. So she uses it as a flavor and texture medium, where others use it at the end to soften the sauce
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post #6 of 39
Wouldn't the milk also act as a sweetner to cut the acidity of the sauce as well?

You make a good point Cape, but doesn't the heat kill the Ph in the lactic acid?
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Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
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post #7 of 39
Nicko, I would have to look this up in regards to the ph in the acid being rendered useless do to the heat.
I wonder if Kyle has in his book an explaination by Hazan as to why she uses the milk in the first step.
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post #8 of 39
There's not that much lactic acid in milk. If there is, it's on its way to becoming buttermilk and there's some bacterial growth. Nicko is right about the sweetness, probably caused by lactose, not lactic acid.

Kuan
post #9 of 39
Thanks Cape, I am checking into it also.
Thanks,

Nicko 
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All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
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Thanks,

Nicko 
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All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
All About Braising: The Art of Uncomplicated Cooking
Bacon (I made)
(26 photos)
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post #10 of 39
According to Senora Hazan -

"Cook the meat in milk before adding the wine and tomatoes to protect it from the acidic bite of the latter."
At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals.
www.kyleskitchen.net
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At weddings, my Aunts would poke me in the ribs and cackle "You're next!". They stopped when I started doing the same to them at funerals.
www.kyleskitchen.net
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post #11 of 39
ok...i don't have the last word on this, but i did live in bologna for a year.

basic ragu, as they call it in bologna, doesn't have any dairy in it, in my experience. they use it for a sauce all by itself, but they also use it for a jumping-off point.

when it's used in lasagna verde, they fold bechamel into the ragu before layering it. and at most restaurants you can get either tagliatelle alla ragu, or alla ragu con panna.

here's my (unofficial) recipe for ragu which i made quite a few times and served to some bolognese friends who gave it their seal of approval.

equal parts ground pancetta, pork, and veal. sautee with diced onion and carrot and whole garlic cloves until well cooked. add tomato paste (double concentrate from a tube) and cook a bit, then deglaze with red wine and add water and bay leaves. cook until desired texture, season.
eddie
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post #12 of 39
Hiya Eddie, Nice to see you around!!!

I think like said before us in this thread, every home offers a different dish to the table...but with similer traits.
It's like a bearnaise sauce...It seems that everyone has there own opinion of this sauce. Unfortunalty, most of them are terrible:D
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post #13 of 39
Having lived in Bologna for a year - you probably should. Did you like it?
Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO...
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Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO...
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post #14 of 39
Rachel, last year Eddie did an incredible journel of his time cooking through Italy, He would update us in great detail on his travels.
All should do a search for this journel..What a treat it was for us.
Oh yeh Eddie..answer the question!! did you like it?
Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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Baruch ben Rueven / Chanaבראד, ילד של ריימונד והאלאן
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post #15 of 39
I'll have a look now. . . and no I'm not envious at all :rolleyes:
Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO...
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Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO...
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post #16 of 39
I'll have a look now. . . and no I'm not envious at all :rolleyes:
Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO...
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Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO...
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post #17 of 39
I love Marcella's Bolognese sauce. It is to die for and the smell is so very enticing. :lips:
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post #18 of 39
hi capechef....good to see you too. i've been lurking around recently, but not posting all that much.

yes, i loved bologna. it's a great food town. i ate almost no italian food for a couple months after i got back, but now i've been starting to get back into it.

capechef, you're right, ragu is one of those things that varies slightly from household to household and each cook will tell you that their version is the "final word."

thanks for plugging my journal.
eddie
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post #19 of 39

Just my Italian 2 cents!

Being a traditional recipe, the Ragù alla Bolognese isn't obviously a codified one and there are many versions. In any case:

-As far as I know, cream is never used in this recipe, and its use can be generally considered "not traditionally Italian".

-Milk can be added or not, depending on the cook's taste. I usually add it at the end, just before using the sauce, to make it smoother. In any case, it's not used to cut the acidity...we usually add
a pinch of sugar to the sauce for this purpose.

-My personal (PERSONAL!:) ) opinion about the American "Bolognese" sauce is that it often contains too much tomato. I don't care about milk or wine or pork or vegetables...Italians are very flexible on these points. But, an excess of tomato can make the recipe completely different from the original one!

Pongi
post #20 of 39

ShekharBhargava, back by popular demand.

As The Soup Simmers. . . .



This Bolognese recipe was one of three wishes granted to me, ShekharBhargava, by a Genie who appeared magically to me from within a brass lamp. ;)

Now, I - the magnanimous ShekharBhargava - will share this Best-In-The-World recipe for Bolognese!

Do try it. I insist. :)

Upon tasting ShekharBhargavaBolognese, you will immediately rip your recipe into little, tiny pieces of confetti! Yes, and you will spit on your recipe!! You will continue to spit on your recipe until you are as dry as the desert! You will stomp it into the dust, sweep up the remnants and burn what is left!!!

Please enjoy this excellent recipe, my new friends... :)





BOLOGNESE

Serves 6

2 tablespoons Butter
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
6 oz. Ground Pork
6 oz. Ground Beef
6 oz. Ground Veal
6 oz. Pancetta, cut into small dice
1 stalk of Celery, diced
1 Carrot, cut into small dice
1 Onion, cut into small dice
1/2 cup Red Wine
1 cup Chicken Stock
1 pound Tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
3 tablespoons roughly chopped Fresh Thyme
4 tablespoons Basil (cut chiffonade)
Salt and Pepper, to taste

In large saucepot, melt butter with oil. Add the ground meats. Cook thoroughly, then drain any fat left in the pot. Add the pancetta and cook. Add the celery, carrot and onion. Cook until soft. Add the wine and reduce by half. Add the chicken stock and tomatoes; bring to a simmer. When the liquid is reduced by half (this may take up to an hour), add the cream, herbs, salt and pepper. Continue to cook about 5 minutes more or until sauce has a creamy consistency. Serve over pasta.



Note: I have been requested to make this Bolognese using soy milk and substituting texturized vegetable protein for the meat... it is enough to make even a strong man like me gasp in horror! Yes, I have a very Westernized diet. ;)
"It is difficult, Monsieur, very difficult to be a man." Sartre
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post #21 of 39
Dear *&^%$*berger

This is a nice recipe, I see only one thing that perhapes will make it better. Consider seasoning your meats and vegetables as they brown with some salt and pepper, instead of adding it at the end.
This (layering) will give you a finer finished sauce.
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post #22 of 39

What is THIS?!!

You dare to correct the friendly, but notoriously hot-tempered ShekharBhargava of New Delhi?!!! I am OUTRAGED!

Did I ask for opinions on ShekharBhargavaBolognese, O Caped One?

NO. I did NOT, because it is perfect! PERFECT, I tell you!!! ...In my opinion, of course. ;)

Before daring to make this audacious suggestion, I am sure that you whipped up two batches of ShekharBhargavaBolognese, one perfect (my) version, and one corrupted (Cape Chef) version.

I will agree to one small concession. You may salt and pepper the ground meats at an earlier stage of cooking, if you insist, BUT... only with the lightest of hands! Add more, if necessary, at the end.

Now, it is almost 11:00 PM in New Delhi. I must check on my simmering soup - which will of course be my midnight snack. Good night, all!

PS: :) Since you seem to be a genuinely friendly and helpful fellow, Cape Chef, I will assume that my beautiful name, ShekharBhargava, was only the latest victim of your famous misspelling, and that you intended no ridicule. Otherwise, instead of my bland and insipid Bolognese, you would be tasting. . . .


. . . . . the wrath of Bhargava!!! ;)
"It is difficult, Monsieur, very difficult to be a man." Sartre
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"It is difficult, Monsieur, very difficult to be a man." Sartre
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post #23 of 39
Thread Starter 
Oh, thank you, SB (I have decided that is what your nickname is - your full name makes my fingers go all twisty on the keyboard!), for your most welcomed recipe! I shall try it - but - cannot rip my recipe into little pieces, as it's in the middle of a very expensive book!

So tell me really, how does sauce Bolognese really go over in New Delhi?!:D
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post #24 of 39
SB....I think your recipe is pretty good, actually very good.
I am a Chef, I have some knowelage, I like to share.
If you take offence to my suggestion I understand. I am not one to smile at critisism myself, unless ofcourse it is constuctive.

The technique of layering is all important in cooking don't you think. As for my spelling, Yes I "suck" at spelling, but I am a good and thorough cook. I think I could perhaps teach even you a thing or two ;)
Peace
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post #25 of 39

Thank You

Yes, dear Marmalady, I am quite the anomoly in New Delhi! ;)

It is clear to me, ShekharBhargava, that only the women of Chef Talk Café have senses of humor. ;)

Appearances can be deceptive, Cape Chef!

Life does not always have to be so serious, I think. I have no doubt that I, ShekharBhargava, could learn much from the great chefs of the Western world. And you could learn something from ME - and from Dr. Seuss, who once said:Now, I really must go wake my 11 or 12 children and feed them their midnight snacks!

Love,

ShekharBhargava :)
"It is difficult, Monsieur, very difficult to be a man." Sartre
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"It is difficult, Monsieur, very difficult to be a man." Sartre
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post #26 of 39
Maybe your right SB,

I have never been able to find an easy, less serious path. It is my nature, It can be very painful at times, but I am learning slowly but surely,
But anyway back to cooking!!! enjoy your midnight snack with your 12 children ;)
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post #27 of 39
Often one to poke my nose into other peoples' conversations, especially one that smells as luscious as this one (oops, sorry about the mixed metaphor) ... I have a question:

I recently made something very much like the ragus discussed above, but with three differences:[list=1][*]No dairy of any sort; neither milk nor cream[*]for the meat, I used only lamb[*]for the stock, lamb stock[/list=1]

I was sure that I'd seen this in one of my books, but couldn't find it. So does anyone know if there is a name for this variation? It can't possibly be Bolognese; I was thinking it might be Sardinian or Sicilian, but ...?? In any case, it was delish, and my guests scarfed it up. Try it sometime!

BTW, Pongi: I used very little tomato in proportion to the other ingredients. You're right, we tend to make too many sauces into "tomato plus a little other flavoring" which I did not want this one to be.
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post #28 of 39
Dear Suzanne, Are you refering to Ragu d' Agnella?

It is very similar to what you made, there is some panchetta in it.
I am not sure that this is Southern however
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post #29 of 39
Well, I figured it was from Sardinia because there are not that many parts of Italy where sheep are eaten. But, it really didn't matter to the people eating it: to them, it was from Lower Manhattan, and they were very happy. So really all the talk of authenticity is just an academic exercise; what matters is, does it make people feel good? (Another thread on another board, I know, but are we museum curators or lovers of food?!?!?!?)
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post #30 of 39
Great ShekharBargava! (oh, what skilful fingers I have!:cool: )

I must tell you that last night BALANZONE Genie appeared magically to me from within a crockpot and left a message for your miserable genie:

INGREDIENTS OF THE ONLY, TRUE RAGU' ALLA BOLOGNESE:

10 lb minced beef meat
10 lb minced pork meat
10 lb minced luganega (Italian fresh sausage)
1 celery stalk, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 onion, diced
1 handful chopped parsley, diced
1 glass red wine
oil and butter
salt and pepper
beef stock
2-3 tbsp concentrated tomato puree (NO fresh tomato!:mad: )
1/2 glass wholemilk (NO cream!:mad: :mad: and, in any case, it's an optional)

As for the procedure, Balanzone genie must admit that your genie isn't so far from the truth, and only recommends to cook vegetables at first and then add all the meats.

In his magnanimity, he also tells you that, if you'll lay down trembling at his feet, he'll share with you his TRUE, UNIQUE LAMB KORMA RECIPE.

After that, the BALILLA Genie appeared to me and said that a good Genovese variation of meat sauce could be a handful of dried Porcini mushrooms, soaked in water, minced and added to the other vegetables (to tell the truth, the typical Genovese meat sauce, called "Tocco", is made with a whole piece of beef, like the Ragù alla Napoletana)

Finally, the CUCCUREDDU genie appeared and said that lamb meat is widely diffused in all the Central and Southern Italy, not only in Sardinia, and that he doesn't know so much about Ragù d'Agnello (is it from Sardinia? Abruzzo? Lazio? Who knows?) but he'll look for more info.

Best regards to your 120 children,

Pongi and the 40 genies
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