A recipe for a meat sauce for pasta that is specifically described as being "bolognese" appeared in Pellegrino Artusi's cookbook of 1891. In 1982 the Italian Academy of Cuisine registered a recipe for authentic ragù alla bolognese with the Bologna Chamber of Commerce, incorporating pancetta and milk.
Outside of Italy, "Bolognese sauce" most often refers to a tomato-based sauce with ground beef. These sauces bear little resemblance to ragù alla bolognese.
In Italy every pasta shape has a specific sauce. It developed this way because, if you are eating pasta night after night, as was the case with many poor Italian families, it is going to get really boring if you eat rigatoni every single night. The different shapes combined with the different sauces allowed for a great deal of variety. As well, different pastas work best with different sauces. That is why In Italy bolognese sauce is not served with spaghetti, for example, because the pasta shape doesn't hold the sauce, though outside of Italy and particularly in America, spaghetti with meat sauce is a popular dish.
Authentic bolognese sauce, known in Italian as ragù alla bolognese, or simply ragù, is a meat sauce originating in Bologna, Italy. In Italian cuisine, it is used to dress long flat pastas like tagliatelle and papperdelle and to prepare lasagna bolognese.
Traditional ingredients include the characteristic soffritto of onion, celery and carrot, finely chopped beef, pork and a little bit of pancetta. There is also red wine, a small amount of tomato concentrate or tomato paste, and milk. The sauce is then gently simmered over several hours to produce a thick sauce.
Ingredients for Bolognese sauce: onion, celery, carrot, pancetta, prosciutto, red wine and milk.
Ground beef and pork for Bolognese sauce.
Add the olive oil to a 12-quart pot and place over a medium-low burner. Add the pancetta and fry gently in a the olive oil until it starts to release its fat.
Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook until the onion is transparent, stirring from time to time.
Add the beef and pork to the vegetable pancetta mixture.
Cook the meat mixture until it is lightly browned. When it starts to make popping noises, it’s done.
Add the prosciutto, the tomato puree and the wine and mix well. Add the milk, little by little until it is completely absorbed.
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