Everything about food, from matching food and wine to recipes, techniques and trends.
User avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

34416

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 2:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

What's the real Beef Bolognese?

by Jenise » Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:13 pm

I did not grow up with Beef Bolognese. I grew up with Spaghetti With Meat Sauce, both at home and famed DTLA eatery Little Joe's. I remember my first encounter with Beef Bolognese fairly well: at one of those over-freeway restaurant/rest stops accessible to foot traffic from cars headed both directions that straddle some of Germany's Autobahns.

It was divine, and a revelation. And it was very simply just a thick slush of finely crumbled, long-cooked ground meat in a very tangy tomato sauce, in which the tomato essence was almost more an implication than a statement. A few years later, I had a very similar version of the dish again in a restaurant in San Francisco's Italian neighborhood of North Beach. And last week in Vancouver: ditto.

I ordered it countless other times, including a new Italian resto that opened in my neighborhood, but all those were, to my eye, really just chunky incarnations of Spaghetti With Meat Sauce like my mother made, junked up with chopped carrots, canned tomatoes and other vegetables, sometimes mushrooms, and worthy of craving but missing the laser focus and fine texture of the meat/tomato/wine sauce I've also come to love.

Made with beef? Wonderful. Made with veal? Even better.

I long ago searched for a recipe that would get me to the desired taste and texture. Didn't come across any (does Marcella have a recipe for Beef Bolognese in any of her books?) so I simply created the dish I thought would get me to the goal line. I'm making it tonight for my no-tomato, no-onion wine blogger friends, who just got sent some samples of $70-80 MSRP Ricasoli wines. They really don't know European wines well at all and tasting them together will help them get the impressions right that will then be telegraphed out to their 12,000 twitter followers. The ingredients were two pounds of ground beef, one 14 ounce can tomato sauce, 1 entire bottle Italian Pinot Grigio, two smallish onions finely diced, two bay leaves, a couple parmesan rinds and 12 or 15 minced cloves of garlic simmered for 3-4 hours. In spite of this couple's shared phobic aversion to two of the main components, they do like Italian food and the integration of the long cook and emphasis on meat, garlic and parmesan should have them swooning with delight.

But I've never had anything like this in Italy. Does anyone know--is it really a dish of Bologna? (I've not been there.) If so, what's the Bolognese version of Bolognese like?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
User avatar
User

Larry Greenly

Rank

Resident Chile Head

Posts

4406

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:37 am

Location

Albuquerque, NM

Re: What's the real Beef Bolognese?

by Larry Greenly » Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:13 pm

I've seen a couple of Bolognese recipes on ATK. Here's their take on Classic Bolognese (they also have a quicker one with some different components):

A good Bolognese sauce should be thick and smooth with rich, complex flavor. The meat should be first and foremost, but there should be sweet, salty, and acidic flavors in the background. To get this complexity, we built our Bolognese in layers, starting with just onion, carrot, and celery, sautéed in butter. Then we added meatloaf mix (a combination of ground beef, veal, and pork). For dairy, we used milk, which complemented the meat flavor without adding too much richness. Once the milk was reduced, we added white wine to the pot for a more robust sauce, followed by chopped whole canned tomatoes. A long, slow simmer produced a luxuriously rich sauce with layers of flavor and tender meat. If you would like to double this recipe, increase the simmering times for the milk and the wine to 30 minutes each, and the simmering time to 4 hours once the tomatoes are added. Just about any pasta shape complements this meaty sauce, but fettuccine and linguine are the test kitchen favorites.

If you do some serious online searching, you can find the recipes for free and/or watch youtube videos.
User avatar
User

Dale Williams

Rank

Compassionate Connoisseur

Posts

9845

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 4:32 pm

Location

Dobbs Ferry, NY (NYC metro)

Re: What's the real Beef Bolognese?

by Dale Williams » Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:05 pm

The big debate is usually milk/no milk, we do milk.
Like Larry Betsy usually does the tri-meat (we have an Italian grocery/deli branch of an Arthur Ave shop, they always have the veal/beef/pork combos)
Yes, Marcella has a recipe for Bolognese meat sauce in Essentials (uses milk, I think nutmeg, and can be beef or beef/pork)
I think Betsy also sometimes incorporates a bit of pancetta, Biba Caggiano has a recipe for veal/pancetta.
Never been to Bologna so can't comment on what most authentic.
User avatar
User

Jeff Grossman

Rank

That 'pumpkin' guy

Posts

4549

Joined

Sat Mar 25, 2006 7:56 am

Location

NYC

Re: What's the real Beef Bolognese?

by Jeff Grossman » Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:25 pm

Jenise wrote:Does anyone know--is it really a dish of Bologna? If so, what's the Bolognese version of Bolognese like?

This appears to be an accurate history: https://www.1843magazine.com/food/world-in-a-dish/the-tangled-history-of-spaghetti-bolognese

The short form: A ragu -- a long-simmered simple sauce of chopped meat on a sweated soffrito -- became popular when Napoleon swept through Italy. The Cardinal of Imola, a town near Bologna, had something like this in the late 18th C. (It may have had tomatoes but it certainly had cinnamon.)

The first person to specifically call it ragu al bolognese -- with the addition of dried meat (=> pancetta) and only minimal seasoning -- was Pellegrino Artusi in his 1891 cookbook. Artusi also made various suggestions for how to make the ragu more interesting (add liver, add cream, add mushrooms, add truffles...).

The town codified a recipe in 1982 based on Artusi's but added white wine and made the cream official (as milk).

It appears that adding a small amount of tomato is totally optional and, most likely, is what non-Italians do because they can't tell Napoli from Bologna. :wink:
User avatar
User

Paul Winalski

Rank

Wok Wielder

Posts

5008

Joined

Wed Mar 22, 2006 9:16 pm

Location

Merrimack, New Hampshire

Re: What's the real Beef Bolognese?

by Paul Winalski » Tue Jan 28, 2020 6:24 pm

Jenise wrote:does Marcella have a recipe for Beef Bolognese in any of her books?


Yes. It's on page 203 of Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. She recommends tagliatelle, tortellini, rigatoni, conchiglie, or fusilli as the pastas to serve with ragu. She points out that in Bologna it's never served over spaghetti, despite the UK's fondness for that combination.

-Paul W.
User avatar
User

Dale Williams

Rank

Compassionate Connoisseur

Posts

9845

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 4:32 pm

Location

Dobbs Ferry, NY (NYC metro)

Re: What's the real Beef Bolognese?

by Dale Williams » Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:15 pm

I looked at a different Biba Caggiano book ("Biba's Italy"), in the Bologna section she gives a recipe similar to what Jeff posts- pork in this case, with pancetta and just a tablespoon of paste. She calls it ragu al bolognese bianca, and says this is what used to be found in almost every restaurant in Bologna, but now is mostly supplanted by a more tomato-y version.
But I love the one Betsy makes, can of tomatoes (through food mill),.pancetta, wine, milk, 3 meat combo, garlic.
User avatar
User

Matilda L

Rank

Sparkling Red Riding Hood

Posts

1471

Joined

Wed Jul 16, 2008 4:48 am

Location

Adelaide, South Australia

Re: What's the real Beef Bolognese?

by Matilda L » Sat Feb 01, 2020 4:05 am

Someone I used to know through work, years ago, grew up in an Italian family. He insisted Bolognese sauce needed to have at least two kinds of meat in it - beef and lamb (or mutton), or veal and port. Three kinds was also OK. That was how his mother and grandmother had cooked it, and it was how he cooked it.

I remembered him and his meat sauce last weekend when we dined at a quirky hole-in-the-wall in the city with the Francophile's kids and their partners. One of the dishes offered in our banquet was "Gnocchi Bolognese" - and the sauce had chunks of meat as well as ground meat in it. It was tasty, too.
User avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

34416

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 2:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: What's the real Beef Bolognese?

by Jenise » Thu Feb 06, 2020 3:14 pm

Reading through this fun and informative thread, it dawned on me to compare the recipe in my copy of The Silver Spoon, the book that is to Italy what Joy of Cooking is to America. It was translated into English about ten years ago. And? [DRUM ROLL] It has just 7 ingredients, two of which are butter and oil. The other five are celery, carrot, onion, chopped steak and a mere 1 tblsp of tomato paste. No wine, no milk. Not even garlic. The result wouldn't even be a sauce, more a dry thing kind of like the meat mixture on Asian dan-dan noodles.

Clearly there's no one right way--even to Italians. There's just what you like or are used to. Next time I make it I'll try mixing pork into it. In my non-Italian area, though, ground pork can be quite problematic. It's sometimes not available, and sometimes it's coarse grind (which usually equates to gristle-y as well) or so ridiculously fatty I wouldn't buy it. I often buy a shoulder roast and grind my own. That's better anyway, just extra trouble.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
User avatar
User

wnissen

Rank

Wine guru

Posts

1118

Joined

Wed Mar 22, 2006 1:16 pm

Location

Livermore, CA

Re: What's the real Beef Bolognese?

by wnissen » Fri Feb 07, 2020 8:31 pm

Paul Winalski wrote:
Jenise wrote:does Marcella have a recipe for Beef Bolognese in any of her books?


Yes. It's on page 203 of Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. She recommends tagliatelle, tortellini, rigatoni, conchiglie, or fusilli as the pastas to serve with ragu. She points out that in Bologna it's never served over spaghetti, despite the UK's fondness for that combination.


We made this and it was good but I still like some more tomato.
Walter Nissen
User avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

34416

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 2:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: What's the real Beef Bolognese?

by Jenise » Fri Feb 07, 2020 8:55 pm

I do too, and I want a wet sauce.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
User avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

34416

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 2:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: What's the real Beef Bolognese?

by Jenise » Mon Feb 10, 2020 2:49 pm

Googling around in the middle of the night last night, I followed a friend's link to a YouTube having nothing to do with food, but all the suggestions in the sidebar were videos of how to make Pasta Bolognese.

Just looking at the pictures of the results attached to each one was an interesting survey of the variety of options we've already discussed here. About half were just seasoned ground meat, which I likened above to dan-dan noodles. Nearly all included celery and carrots in the sofritto--in one case, fennel in place of celery. And the majority, despite Marcella's advice on the matter, were strand-shaped pasta, generally paparadelle.

Oh, and one from failed foodie-sex-symbol Rocco DeSpirito recommended using Bertoli sauce in the jar for the tomato element. :)
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
User avatar
User

Larry Greenly

Rank

Resident Chile Head

Posts

4406

Joined

Sun Mar 26, 2006 11:37 am

Location

Albuquerque, NM

Re: What's the real Beef Bolognese?

by Larry Greenly » Sat Feb 15, 2020 6:32 pm

I ran across this in the NYT. I don't know if it's the same recipe someone else sent you, but here it is:

After the death in 2013 of Marcella Hazan, the cookbook author who changed the way Americans cook Italian food, The Times asked readers which of her recipes had become staples in their kitchens. Many people answered with one word: “Bolognese.” Ms. Hazan had a few recipes for the classic sauce, and they are all outstanding. This one appeared in her book “The Essentials of Classic Italian Cuisine,” and one reader called it “the gold standard.” Try it and see for yourself.
Featured in: Tell Us Your Favorite Marcella Hazan Recipe.

Ingredients
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 3 tablespoons butter plus 1 tablespoon for tossing the pasta
• ½ cup chopped onion
• ⅔ cup chopped celery
• ⅔ cup chopped carrot
• ¾ pound ground beef chuck (or you can use 1 part pork to 2 parts beef)
• Salt
• Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
• 1 cup whole milk
• Whole nutmeg
• 1 cup dry white wine
• 1 ½ cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
• 1 ¼ to 1 ½ pounds pasta
• Freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese at the table
Preparation
1. Put the oil, butter and chopped onion in the pot and turn the heat on to medium. Cook and stir the onion until it has become translucent, then add the chopped celery and carrot. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring vegetables to coat them well.
2. Add ground beef, a large pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper. Crumble the meat with a fork, stir well and cook until the beef has lost its raw, red color.
3. Add milk and let it simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it has bubbled away completely. Add a tiny grating -- about 1/8 teaspoon -- of nutmeg, and stir.
4. Add the wine, let it simmer until it has evaporated, then add the tomatoes and stir thoroughly to coat all ingredients well. When the tomatoes begin to bubble, turn the heat down so that the sauce cooks at the laziest of simmers, with just an intermittent bubble breaking through to the surface. Cook, uncovered, for 3 hours or more, stirring from time to time. While the sauce is cooking, you are likely to find that it begins to dry out and the fat separates from the meat. To keep it from sticking, add 1/2 cup of water whenever necessary. At the end, however, no water at all must be left and the fat must separate from the sauce. Taste and correct for salt.
5. Toss with cooked drained pasta, adding the tablespoon of butter, and serve with freshly grated Parmesan on the side.
User avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

34416

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 2:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: What's the real Beef Bolognese?

by Jenise » Sun Feb 16, 2020 9:05 am

"To keep it from sticking, add 1/2 cup of water whenever necessary. At the end, however, no water at all must be left and the fat must separate from the sauce."

Such a cute instruction. You know what, this version, with the relatively high vegetable to meat ratio, would come very close to the spaghetti sauce my mother made and that I grew up on except that my mom added an envelope of Lawry's spaghetti sauce seasoning and extra oregano. The word 'Bolognese' wasn't in our vocabulary yet. But the fat always separated like she describes.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests

Powered by phpBB ® | phpBB3 Style by KomiDesign