Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Bolognese Sauce – Hip Hip Hazan!

This bolognese sauce is dedicated to the late, great Marcella Hazan, who passed away in September, at the age of 89. She was considered the Julia Child of Italian food, and at a time when most Americans though “bolognese” was spaghetti sauce with chunks of hamburger it, Marcella taught us just how magnificent this meat sauce could be.

One thing that always surprises people making this recipe for the first time is the absence of garlic. Hazan railed against the common belief that garlic should be added to any and all Italian recipes. She once wrote, “the unbalanced use of garlic is the single greatest cause of failure in would-be Italian cooking,” and “Garlic can be exciting when you turn to it sporadically, on impulse, but on a regular basis, it is tiresome.”

Would a few minced garlic cloves ruin this incredibly delicious pasta sauce? Probably not, but since this is supposed to be something of a tribute, I decided to remain true. Speaking of ingredients, I used ground beef here, but I’ve also done this with cubed chuck roast, which works wonderfully as well.

Anyway, I really hope you give this classic bolognese a try, and if you do, and there’s some extra wine around, please raise a glass, and toast the “Nonna” of Italian cuisine in America. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 6 portions:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
1 cup finely diced onions
1/2 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced carrot
1 1/2  tsp salt, or to taste
freshly ground black pepper and cayenne to taste
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 lb ground beef
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups white wine
1 can San Marzano plum tomatoes (28-oz), about 3 cups
2 cups water, or as needed