Ragu Bolognese

ragu bolognese

I found this recipe months ago in Bon Appetit magazine for Ragu Bolognese. It looked so delicious and authentic. This is one of those Sunday dinners that takes at least a couple of hours to make.

This sauce is the real deal. Lots of simmering, stirring, and (of course) tasting. The recipe calls for a mix of ground beef and veal. I know I took a classic and probably ruined it in some people’s eyes…but I used ground dark turkey instead. Worry not though, I did still use the pancetta!

At this point, most people know I’m not the biggest red meat eater. I’ll have some every now and then but if I can make a dish using ground turkey, then I will typically do it. BUT, I do love cured meats…prosciutto, salami, pancetta, etc. Strange that I eat cured meats and not a steak? Maybe. It works for me though….So, there it is. Believe me, this dish does not suffer for having ground turkey. There is such a complexity in the flavors that develops over the hours of cooking. If you want to do the veal and beef combo I included the amounts in directions below.

And bonus, this recipe calls for wine so, if you’re like me, you’ll pour yourself a glass to enjoy while you stir, simmer, and taste…

(Not so Classic) Ragu Bolognese
adapted from Bon Appetit


2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 celery stalks, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 carrots, peeled, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
1 pound ground dark organic/natural turkey
3 oz. thinly sliced pancetta, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 cups (about) chicken stock, divided
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup whole milk
1 lb. tagliatelle or fettuccine (preferably fresh egg)
Finely grated Parmesan (for serving)


Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, and carrots. Sauté until soft, 8-10 minutes. Add turkey and pancetta (if using beef and veal, use 6oz of each and make sure the beef is 85% lean); sauté, breaking up with the back of a spoon, until browned, about 15 minutes. Add wine; boil 1 minute, stirring often and scraping up browned bits. Add 2 1/2 cups stock (you could use beef stock if using ground beef/veal) and tomato paste; stir to blend. Reduce heat to very low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, 1 1/2 hours. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring milk to a simmer in a small saucepan; gradually add to sauce. Cover sauce with lid slightly ajar and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until milk is absorbed, about 45 minutes, adding more stock by 1/4-cupfuls to thin if needed.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt; add pasta (I used tagliatelle) and cook, stirring occasionally, until 1 minute before al dente. Add pasta to the pot that contains the ragù with tongs, pasta server, etc. I say this because it will ensure that you have additional pasta water to use if needed. I can’t tell you how many times I drain my pasta and forget to save some pasta water. So frustrating when that happens!

Stir in some of the reserved pasta water by tablespoonfuls if sauce seems dry. Divide pasta among plates and grate Parmesan on top.



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