A classic Bolognese is a beautifully rich meat ragu that makes every heart melt.
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 80 g thinly sliced and chopped pancetta
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 brown onion, chopped
- 1 celery stick, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, skin on, bashed with the back of a knife
- 500 g mixed pork and beef mince
- 200 ml red or white wine
- 400 g tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 2 cups (500 ml) good-quality beef or chicken stock
- 1–2 bay leaves
- 150 ml milk
- 500 g fresh tagliatelle pasta
- salt flakes and freshly ground white pepper
- freshly grated pecorino, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based pot. Add the pancetta and cook for a few minutes. Add the carrot, onion, celery and garlic and cook over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent.
2. Drop in the beef and pork mince and brown over high heat for 5 minutes, breaking up any lumps as you go. Deglaze the pan with the wine and simmer away until the alcohol has evaporated (this should take about 2 minutes). Pour in the tomatoes (and paste) and stock, bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Add the bay leaves, season with salt and cover with a lid. Cook slowly for 4–6 hours, stirring occasionally. If it starts to dry out, add a little water.
3. Towards the end of the cooking time, add the milk and cook over medium heat for a further 20 minutes. Taste for salt and adjust accordingly, and season with white or black pepper.
4. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Drop in the tagliatelle and cook for 2 minutes or until al dente. Drain well, but be sure to reserve a couple of tablespoons of the pasta cooking water to add to the ragu. This little trick will help bind the sauce and create a richer, creamier texture.
5. Toss the pasta in the sauce and a little of the cooking water, to coat it well. Serve hot, topped with grated pecorino.