Ragù alla bolognese, which originated in the city of Bologna in northern Italy, is traditionally made with ground beef, pork, and vegetables and is enhanced with milk and seasonings. So it’s obvious why a kosher cook might have trouble duplicating an authentic Bolognese sauce. For years, I’ve perused kosher cookbooks searching for a great meat sauce recipe. What I usually found were versions loaded with ketchup and sugar-more sweet-and-sour than a truly hearty and full-bodied Bolognese. After a bit of experimentation and some mixing and matching, I found a way to achieve a gorgeously thick, rich-tasting, aromatic meat sauce. I also discovered a magical ingredient. A few years ago, I met a woman in Italy who told me the secret to her Bolognese came from her mother. When the sauce was done, she stirred in a tiny amount of good honey, just to release the sweetness. This takes the flavor from homemade to gourmet, and I love the results. When you try it, you’ll understand.
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, and bay leaves, cover, and cook for 5 minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste, incorporating it into the vegetables, then stir in
Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Remove and discard the bay leaves and stir in the honey. This recipe makes a huge quantity, but luckily the sauce freezes beautifully. (I use it in lasagne as well as over pasta.) Freeze it for for up to 1 month, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and reheat over medium heat.
© 2015 All rights reserved. Published by Weldon Owen.