I had left over ground beef from my burger night. I normally make a meat pie, but today, I decided to try out a ragu sauce. I pulled out The Essentials of Italian Cooking to review the process that Marcella uses to cook her Bolongese sauce. It is very easy process so I set out making a ragu that has the ingredients available to me in my refrigerator and pantry. Oh, but don’t cook this unless you’re home for a day of rest and reading. It takes about 5 hours total from start to finish.
1/2 c chopped onion
1/2 c chopped celery
1/2 c chopped carrot
1/2 c chopped fennel bulb
1 T olive oil
2 T butter
3/4 lb ground beef
1 c whole milk
1 c white wine
1-1/2c Summer roasted tomatoes with garlic and olive oil*
Fresh or dry pasta of choice
Saute the onions in the butter and oil until transluscent then add the carrots, celery and fennel. Cook for several minutes and add the ground beef along with a hefty amount of salt and cracked pepper. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, add in the milk and simmer until the milk disappears. Add wine and simmer gently until it also disappears.
Pass the tomatoes through a food mill, then add them to the sauce. Get them simmering and then, turn the heat low, low, low so there is just a little bubble happening.
Check on it over the next three hours. If it starts drying out, add some water. But keep cooking for the 3 hours and make sure the water has evaporated entirely before you eat it.
Cook your pasta and add it to your sauce.
I use Leslie Land’s Intensely Delicious Roasted Tomotoes recipe for canning my tomatoes. I vary it a bit though, sometimes I cook on the grill instead of in the oven.