Quick Ragu Bolognese that Melts in Your Mouth












There might be as many recipes for Spaghetti Bolognese as there are cooks and this is mine. The way I make it has changed twice. Firstly after my Italian teacher Davide had told that a bit of wine or beer in any meat stew or sauce works wonders. Thus the red wine in the recipe. And secondly, after another teacher of Italian, Michaela, passed on a recipe that I believe has its origins in Southern Italy. The milk, star anise and nutmeg in the recipe come from Michaela’s recipe that I have actually never followed to the point because it calls for six hours of cooking. You can manage my sauce in 45 minutes. I know that Italians are quite particular as to which pasta goes with what sauce but I use whatever I have available.

This is what you need for two portions:
200 g minced meat (I used a mixture of beef, pork and lamb)
2 spring onions, 2 cloves of garlic, olive oil, 1/2 carrot,  1 dl whole milk, 1 star anise, dash of grated nutmeg, 200 g (half a can) purèd tomatoes (pasata pomodoro), 1 dl red wine, black pepper and salt
1 – 1,5 dl freshly grated Parmesan
250 g spaghetti, linguine, tagliatelle or any other pasta

Chop the onions and garlic. Peel and cut the carrot into thin slices. Saute the vegetables for a few minutes. Add the meat, star anise and nutmeg. Pour in the milk and cook on low heat for 15 minutes, or until the milk has evaporated. Add the tomato and red wine, and cook for 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook the pasta while the sauce is cooking. Turn in the sauce and the pasta in a hot pan. Add the Parmesan. Let stay aside for a couple of minutes to let the pasta take in the sauce.

I just browsed the Internet for other Bolognese recipes and the following ingredients are also used in the sauce: cleric, cream, meat broth, flour, chili, honey, chicken stock, balsamic vinegar, chicken liver,  pancetta , basil, thyme and parsley. Some of the recipes I just read were ‘authentic’ or ‘traditional’. I wonder what the Bolognese put in it and how they make it. Please tell me if you are from Bologna or have  ‘an original’ recipe.

My travels have taken me to Bologna once and it was  in 2002. Bologna is  a beautiful old city which attracted me with being the site of first western university dating back to the 11th century, the lovely portici (the porticoes, 40 km in total, UNESCO’s World Heritage site) and le due Torri Garisenda e degli Asinelli (the medieval towers that are the traditional symbols of the town). We had an opportunity to take a look also at the insides of the university as there was a largish group of conference delegates were gathering to have lunch in the courtyard, and who gladly welcomed us to take a look inside.
I took this trip at the point when I was changing jobs and had just accepted my first post at the university! If I were now to visit Bologna I would certainly book some cooking classes.

These pictures are from my photo album from May 2002! I did not even have to edit them to look old.






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