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Ragu Bolognese Sauce with Homemade Pasta


This past year I've been trying my hand at some classic Italian and French dishes. Here's my take on Ragu alla Bolognese Sauce. I tried this recipe three different times. The first time, we didn't care for the taste, the second time (made with homemade tagliatelle), we liked the taste, but it was overly greasy. The third time was wonderful. That time, we switched out a paste of bacon and garlic with Italian sausage and garlic, used ground venison instead of 80% ground beef, and changed the pasta to a pappardelle--a wider noodle, which added even more to the dish's homey, comforting taste and texture.

8 oz. ground Italian sausage
16 oz. ground venison or lean burger
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup shredded sweet onion
1/2 cup shredded celery
1/2 cup carrot, peeled and shredded
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 1/2 pounds fresh pasta (See recipe HERE.)
1 tablespoon butter
Parmesan and Parsley

In a large Dutch oven, brown the Italian sausage and hamburger. Cook until golden brown. Place meat into a bowl and set aside.

In Dutch oven, heat the oil and butter and add the garlic and onion. Cook over medium heat until tender. Add celery and carrots. Cook for an additional two minutes, stirring well. Finally, add the tomato paste and stir-fry for five minutes. 

On a high heat, add the meat to the vegetable mixture and pour in the wine, stirring frequently for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Lower heat to simmer and cover the pot with a lid. Simmer for at least 3 hours, stirring occasionally. The ragu alla Bolognese must simmer very gently during this cooking time. Add beef stock only if necessary. 

After at least three hours, when the sauce is well done, pour the warmed milk over the sauce and stir well. Cook for an additional 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in nutmeg. Season with more salt and pepper as desired. (May drain excess fat from the dish, if desired.)

At the end of its cooking time, prepare pasta. In a large kettle, heat water and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to boil and add pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain and carefully fold into meat sauce. Place in a large serving dish. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan and parsley. Serves 4-6.
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