One of the things we tend to pick up is the fusilli Bolognese from a local restaurant -- at the recommendation of one of B's friends -- and it's delicious. So I googled Bolognese recipes and the first one that came up was Marcella Hazan's recipe. I've seen her recipes featured on a lot of the foodie sites that I look at, and so I went right with that one, because if people rave about her recipes...well, you get it. Her tomato sauce (which I haven't made yet), it supposed to be amazing!
This recipe is time intensive, but in the best way possible. Cooking down the milk before adding in the wine, and cooking that down as well, and finally adding the tomatoes makes the sauce rich and delicious. The final cooking time -- a minimum of 3 hours! -- makes the sauce tasty and full of flavor.
In the future I'd probably adjust things a little (less wine, more tomatoes), but this sauce is a keeper! It would probably be great for a dinner party, since the last 3 hours of cooking are mostly watching and don't involve a lot of hands-on time.
Marcella Hazan's Bolognese Sauce
Found on the NY Times website
1 Tbsp vegetable oil (I used olive oil, since we didn't have vegetable oil)
3 Tbsp butter, plus 1 Tbsp for tossing the pasta
1/2 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup chopped celery
2/3 cup chopped carrot
3/4 pound ground beef chuck (or you can use 1 part pork (1/4 pound) to 2 parts beef (1/2 pound)). I used generic ground beef'
Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill (we don't have a pepper mill -- something to register for, perhaps?! -- so I used regular ground pepper)
1 cup whole milk
Whole nutmeg (I used already ground nutmeg, which B and I don't particularly love, so I used about 1/16 tsp)
1 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 cups canned imported Italia plum tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds pasta
Freshly grated parmigiana-reggiano cheese, at the table
Put the oil, butter, and chopped onion in the pot.
Turn the heat on to medium.
Cook and stir the onion until it has become translucent.
Add the celery and carrot.
Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring vegetables to coat them well.
Add the ground beef, a large pinch of salt, and a few grindings of pepper.
Crumble the meat with a fork.
Stir well and cook until the beef has lots it's raw, red color.
Add milk and let it simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it has bubbled away completely.
Add a tiny grating -- about 1/8 tsp (I used half of that) -- of nutmeg.
Add the wine.
Let it simmer until it has evaporated.
I added a pinch of salt and some pepper here to taste.
Add the tomatoes and stir thoroughly to coat all the ingredients well.
When the tomatoes begin to bubble, turn the heat down so that the sauce cooks at the laziest of simmers, with just an intermittent bubble breaking through the surface.
Cook, uncovered, for 3 hour or more, stirring from time to time.
While the sauce is cooking, you are likely to see that it begins to dry out and the fat separates from the meat.
To keep it from sticking, add 1/2 cup of water whenever necessary (I added 1/4 cup water after about 40 minutes).
At the end, however, no water at all must be left and the fat must separate from the sauce.
Taste and correct for salt.
Toss the sauce with the cooked, drained pasta, adding the tablespoon of butter.
Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese on the side.