Sugo Alla Bolognese - Bolognan Meat Sauce

Sugo Alla Bolognese - Bolognan Meat Sauce


6 to 8 ounces ground beef, it shouldn't be too lean, or the sugo will be dry
2 ounces pancetta, minced (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
quarter of a medium-sized onion, minced
half a carrot, minced
six inch stalk of celery, minced
1/2 cup dry red wine
3/4 cup crushed tomatoes or 2 tablespoons tomato paste dissolved in 1/2 cup water
Beef broth (If you don't have any, dissolve half a bullion cube in a cup of boiling water)
pinch of salt
1 pound of pasta.
Grated Parmigiano
If you omit the pancetta, you will want the full 8 ounces of meat.


This sauce invites improvisation. For example, you may wish to add a few chopped dried porcini (soak them in boiling water first, and strain and add the liquid as well), or a minced chicken liver to the sauce while it's simmering. Some cooks use the meat from a link sausage instead of pancetta, whereas others omit the pork entirely, using more beef. If you use more pork the sauce will taste sweeter. Artusi suggests that you maywant to stir half a cup of whipping cream into it just before you pour it over the pasta.
In any case, assuming you are using the pancetta, mince it and the vegetables, and saut? them in a casserole or Dutch oven with the oil. When the onion's translucent, add the ground meat and continue cooking till it's browned. Stir in the wine and let the sauce simmer till the wine's evaporated, then add the tomatoes, a ladle of broth, and check the seasoning. Continue simmering over a very low flame for about two hours, stirring occasionally, and adding more broth if the sugo looks like it's drying out. The sugo will improve steadily as it cooks, and if you have the time simmer it longer - Artusi suggests it be simmered for six hours, adding boiling water or broth as necessary. When it is done it should be rich and thick.  This will serve about six as the topping for a first course of pasta or gnocchi, or about four if served over pasta with a tossed salad on the side; in either case serve it with grated Parmigiano. In terms of a wine I'd suggest a relatively light red such as a Chianti Colli Fiorentini. This recipe expands well, and if you double or triple it, using some and freezing the rest, you will have taken care of several meals.

Ten rules for doing it better

1.To establish the right quantity of Pasta for each portion it's necessary that you distinguish dried Pasta from fresh. For dried Pasta: 4 ozs each portion for dishes without broth, 2 ozs each portion for dishes with broth. For fresh Pasta: 3 ozs per portion for dishes without broth, 1 oz per portion for dishes with broth.

2.Water is required in proportion of 1 quart per 4 ounces of Pasta.

3.Consequently use a big stockpot filled to 3/4 (to let enough space to the Pasta). The volume of the Pasta after cooking can get up to four-times before cooking. An enameled stockpot is excellent to cook spaghetti. Steel or alluminium pots are better for short Pasta.

4.Salt, ten grams per liter of water (1 teaspoon per quart) must be added to just boiling water.

5.Put Pasta into boiling water; stir it to keep Pasta separated. Reduce the heat slightly and boil the Pasta uncovered, for the time specified on the package directions or till it is "al dente". Stir occasionally.

6.To stir the Pasta use a long fork, better a wooden one, when cooking spaghetti, noodles and other long shapes. Use a long wooden or plastic spoon for short Pasta.

7.Cooking time is normally specified on the package directions, but the best way for being sure of perfect doneness is to test often near the end of cooking time. Home made Pasta needs a very short cooking time. It is close to doneness as, after put into water, this latter starts boiling again.

8.As pasta is cooked, drain it in a colander and put it into a bowl previously heated with hot water. In winter time, also warm the plates; your guests will appreciate it. Add a little sauce and stir.

9.To estimate the real caracteristics of Pasta, taste it when is cooked "al dente" without any sauce or seasoning.

10.The nutritional value of durum wheat Pasta keeps served also after cooking because the diffusion of starch and proteins into water is limited.

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