Undeniably this is one of favourite meals. A good ragù bolognese is just so tasty and satisfying; the epitome of comfort food. However, when it comes to a good bolognese it would seem that everyone has their opinion as to how it should be made. Personally, I’m a firm believer that a bolognese should be deep in colour, and intensely rich and meaty. I don’t want some insipid concoction of grey chewy mince in a watery tomato sauce. We’re too old for school dinners.
I've tried numerous recipes, and what I have settled for and come back to each time is this recipe. The recipe is similar to most, the base is a classic soffritto (onion, celery, carrot), along with mince, garlic, tomatoes and wine. I include finely (very finely) diced chicken livers as they add a savoury depth to the ragu that makes the bolognese much meatier and more interesting. (If you’re not a liver fan then please don’t worry, this bolognese really won't taste like your gran’s liver and onions.) The milk is included as it arguably makes the meat more tender as well as adding a soft sweetness to the sauce that mellows any acidic bite that may be imparted by the wine and tomatoes. I also prefer to serve bolognese with tagliatelle than spaghetti as I find bolognese a little too heavy for spaghetti.
This recipe makes a lot of bolognese, in my house it tends to have disappeared by the end of the next day, but you might want to portion it out into plastic containers and freeze it.
- Olive oil
- 100g smoked streaky bacon, finely diced.
- 400g pork mince
- 400g beef mince
- 200g chicken livers (very finely chopped)
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2 carrots, finely diced
- 2 sticks of celery, finely diced
- 3 fat cloves of garlic
- Bay leaves
- 250ml milk
- 2 x tin of chopped tomatoes
- 100g tomato puree
- Half a bottle of red wine (with the other half best enjoyed as you cook).
- Preheat the oven to 150 degs. Find large casserole dish.
- Take a large frying pan and heat a splash of olive oil in it before quickly frying off the finely diced smoked bacon. Once browned, tip into a large casserole dish.
- Add a splash more oil to the frying pan and crumble the beef mince into it, moving it around from time to time so that it breaks up. Cook until the meat is nicely browned. Tip into the casserole dish. Add a splash more olive oil to the frying pan and add the pork mince, again stirring to break it up, and once its nicely browned add to the casserole dish. Repeat the same with the minutely chopped chicken livers.
- Then add the onion and garlic to the frying pan with a splash of olive oil, cook for 5 minutes or so until it is nicely softened and add to the casserole dish. Repeat the same with the diced carrot and celery.
- At this point you can get rid of the frying pan, and place the casserole dish on the hob. Add the bay leaves, milk, nutmeg, and plenty of salt and pepper. Simmer the pan over a low heat until the milk has evaporated. This will probably take about twenty minutes or so.
- Pour in the tomato puree, tomatoes and wine and stir well. Bring to a simmer and then put the casserole dish into the oven (no lid necessary) and cook for approximately 3 hours, occasionally stirring. The ragu should have reduced and the sauce should be thick and rich in colour.
- Serve with tagliatelle (or your choice of pasta) and a generous amount of parmesan.