Ragu Bolognese is a popular, slow-cooked, meat-based sauce in Italian cooking which originates from the region Bologna in north-eastern Italy.
In the traditional recipe, Ragu Bolognese is made from a base of onions, celery, and carrots (called soffritto in Italian, mirepoix in French), minced meat, pancetta, tomatoes, red or white wine, and milk or cream.
In my Ragu Bolognese, I do not use the pancetta, wine, and milk or cream, but even without these ingredients the Ragu Bolognese is really good and a little lighter.
When my Ragu Bolognese is ready, I like to add fresh herbs such as basil and parsley before to serve on the pasta.
I enjoy my plate of pasta with some fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and/or Pecorino Romano.
- 1¼ lbs ground beef (or 1 lb ground beef and ¼ pork or veal)
- 2 cans unsalted whole tomatoes (14.5 oz)
- 2-3 tbsp tomato paste
- ½ cup red or white wine (optional)
- 1 stick of celery
- 1-2 carrots
- 1 medium onion
- 1 bay leaf
- fresh herbs (basil, parsley)
- olive oil
- salt, pepper
- Puree the whole tomatoes.
- Dice the onion, celery, and carrot.
- Heat olive oil in a saute pan. Add the diced onion, celery, and carrot with the bay leaf and cook until they are soft but not burned.
- Add the meat and breaking it up with a wood spatula, cook until there is no more liquid and the meat is lightly brown.
- Add the wine (optional) and the tomato paste. Coat all the vegetables and meat then add the tomato puree. Simmer over medium, low heat at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Remove the bay leaf.
- The Ragu Bolognese must be thick but still moist. If it is too thick you can add a little bit of water from your pasta. Add fresh herbs if you like. Toss the sauce with fresh pasta or the pasta of your choice and serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.