Ragù

Ragù, or Bolognese sauce, is a meat sauce to serve with all sorts of pasta including lasagne. If it is cooked long and very gently, it becomes rich, almost creamy, and aromatic with the addition of herbs and grated nutmeg. Make the sauce in advance and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or freeze it, and then reheat from frozen while you cook the pasta. To make it really creamy, you can stir in a little double cream before serving.

Ingredients

  • 50 g (2 oz) butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 stick celery, chopped finely
  • 1 carrot, chopped finely
  • 375 g (12 oz) Extra lean minced beef
  • 3 large cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 250 ml (8 fl oz) dry red wine
  • 150 ml (¼ pint) milk
  • 397 g (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ whole nutmeg, grated
  • 1 rounded tablespoon tomato puree, dissolved in 75 ml (3 fl oz) water
  • Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and black pepper

Method

Melt the butter with the olive oil in a wide, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add the chopped onion, celery and carrot and stir around until the vegetables are beginning to brown, then add the minced meat and the finely chopped garlic and stir around briefly just until the meat has broken up and lost all of its redness.

Pour in the wine, increase the heat and bubble, stirring frequently, for a few minutes until the wine has evaporated. Then add the milk and boil, stirring all the time, until that has evaporated, too.

Stir in the chopped tomatoes, oregano, bay leaves, nutmeg and the tomato puree and water. Season carefully with salt and black pepper.

Stir the mixture and bring to the boil, then cover the saucepan and leave to barely simmer over the lowest possible heat for at least 2 hours, stirring now and then and adding a little water if the mixture looks dry at all. Finally, remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning to taste. Before mixing with the pasta, stir the chopped parsley into the sauce.

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