“A tavola non si invecchia”. - Italian proverb (At the table with good friends and family you do not become old).

Sharing authentic Italian recipes entrusted upon me through the privilege of being invited into many Italian homes and kitchen’s abroad. I travel, cook, eat, share, learn and photograph my experiences, a truly soul enriching journey. There are now over 100 recipes on this blog to search from. I am a Melbourne born girl who now resides in Pietrasanta, Italy. Sharing my love for food and all things Italian with you. I am not a professionally trained chef, just a person that really loves cooking and has made my passion my reality! Through talent and drive I now work as a private chef in some of the most prestigious private villa`s here in Tuscany, Italy!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Ragù alla bolognese (bolognese sauce)

I can see Italian's now throwing their hands in the air "ai ai ai that's not how you make it"!!  
Yes, there are many ways to make bolongese sauce, and admittedly I change the way in which I make it from time to time.  Today, I simply decided to share with you the way in which I made it today, trust me there were no complaints!  This recipe has the fundamentals of how I usually make my sauce, and is perfect for winter!
The first known reference to "ragu alla bolognese" dates back to the late 18th century originating from Bologna.  It is traditionally served with tagliatelle pasta. There is so much love, care and attention needed when making ragu. My theory is that if I go to the effort needed to make the sauce, then I always make my own fresh tagliatelle pasta. 
Last year I gave my Italian friend a `care pack`, which included a container of my ragu, pasta and some other items. On Sunday he invited his Mother over for lunch, and unbeknownst to me served my sauce and pasta. His Mother took a mouthful, there was silence,  then her eyes welled with tears as she said that this pasta takes her back to her childhood, when her Nonna used to cook the same tasting sauce. Filled with aromatic spices. I still get a little chocked up thinking about that special moment. That food can play such an important part of our memories, emotions and encounters.  
On a visit to Bologna it confirmed that using a variety of meats is the key to making a more complex sauce, and traditionally it was made using predominantly veal.
I have tried and loved many sauces, from the North to the South of Italy (the sauce becomes lighter and more tomato based further south).  Each sauce is different, and each household holds a secret! 
This is a robust sauce, that I feel respects the origins and authenticity!  Serve with fresh homemade pasta, top with freshly grated parmigiano cheese and enjoy with red wine. Bliss! 
What you need:
500g mince beef
250g mince veal
250g mince pork
four juicy Italian pork sausages 
two x 400g tomato pulp tins (made in Italy)
1/2 cup olive oil
one onion
two carrots
two celery stalks
5-6 gloves garlic
handful fresh parsley
handful fresh sage
handful fresh oregano
large sprig of rosemary 
1-2 tablespoon fresh grated nutmeg
three bay leaves
500mls red wine
three cups beef stock (homemade)
two tablespoon tomato paste/concentrate
salt and black pepper to taste
How to make:
1: First you need to make the 'sofritto' (the Italian term for combining evenly chopped pieces of carrot, onion, celery, garlic and parsley to a pan).  Cooked the vegetables in the olive oil until soft.  TIP: add a little salt which will help slow down the cooking process and result in perfectly soft, translucent onions.
2: Add the mixed meats to the large saucepan and lightly brown.  Continue to stir and make sure meat is evenly cooked through.
3: Add the herbs, nutmeg, salt and pepper- stir through.
3:  Add the wine and cook for a further five minuets.
4: Add the remaining ingredients.  Cover and simmer, occasionally stirring for two hours.  Make a day ahead to allow the flavours to deepen!
rooftop view over Bologna
pasta making with Stephanie

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