Classic Bolognese Sauce
By June Naylor
Photos by Meda Kessler
Nothing says comfort food better than Italian cuisine, and one of the most satisfying staples is a classic Bolognese sauce.
It’s the signature dish of Bologna, the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region and the epicurean epicenter of Northern Italy. Chef Scott Lewis at Piattello Italian Kitchen in Fort Worth turns out a simple and hearty meat sauce — a perfect match for the handmade tagliatelle. You can substitute another hearty pasta, such as ziti or rigatoni, or enjoy it on gnocchi or ladled over a Parmesan-enriched polenta. Although uncomplicated, this dish requires almost two hours to reduce, and allotting even more time for it to simmer is richly rewarded. As with most time-honored sauces, it’s far better if you let it cook low and slow (traditionally for up to six hours), stirring occasionally, allowing the flavors to meld. For a good wine pairing, Lewis suggests Tenuta di Nozzole Chianti Classico Riserva or Tenuta Santa Maria Valpolicella Classico Superiore from Verona.
Classic Bolognese Sauce
Serves 6 to 8
- 2 pounds ground pork
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- ½ cup chopped carrots
- ½ cup chopped celery
- 4 cups dry red wine
- 4 cups milk
- 8 cups chicken stock or broth
- 1 cup crushed plum tomatoes (see Note)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Chopped herbs and Parmesan, to garnish
Note Chef Scott Lewis likes Stanislaus Alta Cucina canned tomatoes, but any brand of whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes works well. Including the juice, crush the tomatoes with an immersion blender or food processor.
Brown meat in a large pot over medium-high heat.
Add vegetables and cook until soft, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add red wine and bring to a boil. Lower to simmer and reduce until liquid is gone.
Add milk and return momentarily to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cooking until meat is very tender.
Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a medium heat and a gentle boil for 25 minutes.
Add tomatoes and simmer at least 30 minutes; longer better melds flavors.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste. To serve, top each dish with fresh chopped herbs — basil, oregano or Italian parsley — and a grating of good Parmesan.
Piattello Italian Kitchen Dinner is served daily and brunch is available on Sundays; curbside service also is available. Waterside, 5924 Convair Drive, Fort Worth, 817-349-0484, piattelloitaliankitchen.com