Recipe. You Won't Want to Miss This!
There are as many versions of Bolognese as they are residents of Bologna, plus a few million more around the world. Most of them are loaded with tomatoes and lack the simplicity and subtlety of the real thing. Too often the southern Italian influence seeps in, composed of different meats and too many spices. This sauce is meant to merely coat the pasta, not drown it.
This particular recipe is a modification of one given by Elizabeth David in her book, Italian Cooking. She in turn received the recipe from the Trattoria Nerina that flourished in Bologna in the 1950s. I have taken the liberty of changing a few ingredients and proportions, not to mention giving precise quantities that were not provided in the original.
2 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
3 oz. pancetta, chopped
1 carrot, chopped fine
1 onion, chopped fine
½ stalk celery, chopped fine
8 oz. lean ground beef, preferably sirloin
3 oz. of chicken livers, chopped
3 tbsp. tomato paste
¼ cup dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¾ cup stock or water
½ cup whole milk
In a medium saucepan, sauté the pancetta in the butter and oil over medium heat until softened and lightly brown. Add the carrot, onion, and celery and cook until soft. Now, add the ground beef, breaking it up. When it has browned lightly, add the chicken livers; cook for 2 or 3 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and wine and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Now add the stock and simmer on low, covered for 30 minutes. Adding the milk will make for a smoother sauce; allow it to cook for 10 minutes more.
In the meantime, boil your pasta al dente—fettuccine is typical, but any shape will do. Combine the sauce and pasta in the pan and toss with a generous amount of grated Parmesan, letting it heat until the cheese has melted. Serve immediately.
Serves 4-6, depending upon portion size. The recipe provides sauce sufficient for one pound of pasta.
- Chop the vegetables and livers with a knife. A food processor will just make mush, and release water which will prevent the vegetables from browning.
- Some people don’t like chicken livers, but they add an earthy quality to the sauce. If you prefer, you can substitute a small amount of ground pork for the chicken liver.