Il bolognese sauce it is a tomato sauce enriched with meat and sautéed meat used both as a condiment for pasta on festive occasions and to prepare lasagna or cannelloni. The traditional recipe calls for the use of minced beef, which shouldn’t be too lean and should be cooked over low heat with tomato puree. Despite the cooking times (it takes a couple of hours for the sauce), it’s an easy recipe to prepare, which everyone really likes.
How Bolognese sauce was born
The history of Bolognese sauce has its roots in Early Middle Ages in Francearound XII centurywhere the term stew it once defined stews of meat and vegetables cooked over low heat for a long time. Therefore born in France as a stew, cooked both by the less well-off and by the court (but obviously the quality of the meat changed), it arrives in Italy thanks to the transfer of the Pope to the Vatican and at the Angevin court of Naples.
It then spreads through the kitchens of Neapolitan Bourbon court and those Cardinals of the Vatican and in 1773 Vincenzo Corrado in his “The gallant cook” describes for the first time a dish that was a sort of first Ragù, with ingredients that, however, were not yet defined (veal, sweetbreads, prawns or eggs) and cooking in broth with vegetables and herbs.
But by now the recipe has become part of Italian gastronomy and spreads throughout the territory, is modified and enriched by pomodorowhich appears for the first time in the “Maccheroni alla Napolitana” in the recipe book “L’Apicio moderni” by Francesco Leonardi of the 1790. The historic recipe, in fact, foresaw the use of macaroni, but in the 1900s the cult of macaroni exploded noodle.
Especially in the United States Italian emigrants made this condiment one of the most loved in Italian-American cuisine, but if in America the recipe is prepared with spaghettiin Italy it is traditionally served with egg tagliatelle.
Bolognese sauce: original recipe
To prepare a good Bolognese sauce, you first need to wash carefully celery and carrotthen peeling the onion and finely slicing the vegetables (basically, the sautéed). Those who do not have fresh vegetables available can use frozen sautéed vegetables from the supermarket, but clearly the original recipe calls for fresh vegetables to be used.
The vegetable mix is sautéed in a very large saucepan where a spoonful of oil has been heated, also adding the bacon mince. After a while, you can merge the minced beef pulp and brown for a few minutes. Once the meat turns dark, pour the vino mixing carefully and when the alcohol has evaporated, add the tomato sauce and the meat broth, continuing to mix.
Once seasoned with salt and pepper, the sauce must remain on the heat low flame for two hours, stirring occasionally. After this period, the ragù is ready to be used as a condiment or to be used for recipes that require it, such as the classic baked lasagna.
The secrets for an excellent Bolognese sauce
It is important that the sauce at the base of the ragù is made up of very finely chopped greens. We do not recommend using a mixer, but a knife: the mince must be fine, smaller in size than the meat.
As for the choice of meathowever, it should be at least of two types, namely pork and beef. Veal and sausage are also good, the difference is made by the cut of meat chosen, which must not be too lean. Therefore, it is better to avoid carefully selected minced meat and instead prefer one with a little fat, which is essential because it does not dry out and because it gives more flavor to the ragù.
Finally, for a perfect ragù, you don’t need to use a type of pomodoro that is not the concentrate: therefore no to sauce, peeled or fresh tomatoes, which release too much water and give the preparation a less intense flavour.
Variations of Bolognese sauce
In Italy they are spread different regional variations of ragu, which include different procedures or ingredients than the original Bologna ones. An example is Neapolitan ragù, where whole cuts of meat are used.
Since ragù alla bolognese takes a long time to prepare, a variety of recipes have become popular faster recipeswhich allow you to have a good sauce in less hours, as in the case of simple Bolognese sauce which requires only 1 hour and a half to cook.
At the base of the ragù is the carne and if the origin or the cut changes, the taste of the ragù also changes: this is why we can find wild boar ragù, duck ragù or hare ragù. Do you want a topping for a sea dish? Try the fish ragout!