This is a family favourite, and it’s made the way a ‘real’ Bolognese ragu sauce should be made. I grew up in Bologna so I shudder at all the rip-offs you see bottled in supermarkets or served up in restaurants. I make it mainly in the winter when we feel like it, or when our 7-year old Daphne asks for it.
Start with a soffritto, which is basically celery, onion, and carrot, finely diced…I use a medium sized onion, 1 large carrot, and 2 celery stalks, and I throw in a couple of crushed cloves. I let that soften for about 10 minutes on a low heat. Then I put in about 1 pound of beef, 1/2 pound of minced pork, and 2 Italian sausages skinned (out of casing) and chopped up. Whack that in on high heat, salt and pepper it, and cook ’til it’s all browned. Add in a large glass of white wine with a tablespoon of tomato paste. Cook for a couple of minutes. Add in a pint of chicken stock. Close the lid, simmer on low heat, for about an hour and a half. Check it regularly. Then I add in half a pint of milk (whole), cook for another half hour or 45 minutes. Check for seasoning, add what’s needed, and then I take a hand masher, and make sure that all the meat is broken up, so that it has a creamy consistency. If you want to be a bit decadent, add in a knob of butter into the sauce, which makes it all glisten. I always make this with fresh tagliatelle (not dried), and finish it with a cup of grated Parmesan, stirred into the sauce.
Paul de Zwart is the founder of the furniture company Another Country, and is based in London.