Wednesday, November 24, 2010

An authentic ragu bolognese

Cooking : time over 2 hours


450g/1lb lean minced beef
450g/1lb minced pork
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1x225g/8oz tub chicken livers
2 medium onion, finely chopped
4 fat garlic cloves, chopped
2x70g packs (or 140g/5oz) pancetta or streaky bacon, finely chopped
2x400g/14oz tins Italian chopped tomatoes
2x200g/7oz tubes double concentrate tomato pur%26eacute;e
1x37.5cl half bottle red wine (or 400ml/14fl oz)
2x15g packs or 30g/1oz fresh basil
%26frac12; whole nutmeg, grated
salt and freshly milled black pepper

You will also need a large flameproof casserole of 3.5 litre/6 pint capacity.


Preheat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas 1.

First bring a large frying pan, the largest you have, heat 3 tbsp of the oil and gently fry the onion and garlic over a medium heat for about 10 minutes, moving it around from time to time.

While the onion is softening, chop the pancetta: the best way to do that after opening the pack is to roll the contents into a sausage shape, then using a sharp knife slice it lengthways into 4, then slice the lengths across as finely as possible. After 10 minutes, add that to the pan to join the onions and garlic and continue cooking them all for another 5 minutes.

Now transfer that mixture to the casserole. Add another tbsp of oil to the pan, turn the heat up to its highest then add the minced beef and brown it, breaking it up and moving it round in the pan. When the beef is browned tip it into the casserole. Heat another tbsp of the oil and do exactly the same with the minced pork. While the pork is browning, trim the chicken livers, rinse them under nippy running water, dry them thoroughly with kitchen paper and chop them minutely small. When the pork is browned, transfer it to the casserole, then heat the remaining tbsp of oil and brown the slices of chicken liver. Add these to the casserole.

Now you've finished with the frying pan, so fetch rid of that and place the casserole over the direct heat, offer ejustthing a good stir tofetchher, then add the contents of the tins of tomatoes, the tomato pur%26eacute;e, red wine and a really good seasoning of salt, pepper and nutmeg.

allow that to come up to simmering point. Then strip the leaves from half the basil, chop them just finely and add them to the pot. As soon as ejustthing is simmering, place the casserole on the centre shelf of the oven and leave it to cook slowly, without a lid, for 4 hours. It's a good idea to have a look after 3 hours to make sure all is well, but what you should end up with is a thick, concentrated sauce with only a trace of liquid left in it, then remove it from the oven, taste to check the seasoning, strip the leaves off the remainng basil, chop them small and stir them in.

Then when the sauce is absolutely nippy, divide it, using scales, by spooning 225g/8oz into polythene freezer bags. Seal them leaving a little bit of air at the lid to allow room for expansion. Each 225g/8oz pack, thoroughly defrosted and re-heated, will provide enough rag%26ugrave; for 225g/8oz pasta, which will serve 2 population.

Note: If you don't have a 3.5 litre/6 pint capacity ovenproof casserole you can use a large baking dish preheated in the oven, but make sure ejustthing comes up to simmering point in a large saucepan first.

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Orignal From: An authentic ragu bolognese

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