My favorite Bolognese

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Everyone seems to have their own twist on how to make Bolognese. My version is based on the ragout used in Bologna to make traditional bolognese lasagna. The longer you can slowly boil this sauce, the better it will taste. I use a mixture of ground beef, pork and beef in my bolognese (although you can certainly experiment with any combination of ground beef you want). The real secret ingredient here is the sprig of herbs that contains parm peel and leftover ham. You may be able to get free pieces of ham by going to any store where they cut ham on demand and asking what they do with the leg stump when it gets too small to cut. Some stores will simply give you that free ham stump. Josh Cohen

Look at this recipe

My favorite Bolognese

  • 1 piece

    Parmesan rind

  • 1 piece

    scrap ham, from the base of the leg

  • two

    bay leaves

  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme

  • Canola oil

  • 1 pound

    Ground beef

  • 1 pound

    ground pork

  • 1 pound

    ground beef

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 4

    minced garlic cloves

  • two

    (28 ounces) cans whole peeled tomatoes

  • one

    (750 milliliters) bottle of dry red wine

  • 2 cups

    unsalted beef broth (or unsalted chicken broth)

  • 1 1/2 cups

    whole milk

  1. Make your herb bouquet by placing the Parmesan peel, the slice of prosciutto, the bay leaves, and the thyme on a piece of cheese cloth. Tie the gauze in a tight bundle with string. Put your flower bouquet aside.

  2. Put a large pot on high heat and add enough canola oil to thinly coat the bottom of the pot. When the oil starts to smoke, add the ground beef to the pot. Season with a few pinches of salt and a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper. Cook the ground beef until it begins to brown and caramelize. You'll get more caramelization if you wait a minute before stirring, and if you press the meat against the bottom of the pot to create more surface. When the ground beef is fully cooked and somewhat caramelized, move the pot away from the heat and use a slotted spoon to transfer the ground beef to a bowl. Repeat this cooking process with the ground pork and ground beef. Cooking minced meat in batches prevents overcrowding of the pot, helping you caramelize the meat instead of steaming it. When all of your ground beef is cooked, add it back to the pot, along with the minced garlic, and cook for 1 minute over high heat, stirring constantly.

  3. Add the tomatoes and their juices to the pot along with a couple pinches of salt. Reduce the heat to medium and use a wooden spoon to mash the whole peeled tomatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly and mashing the whole tomatoes every time you see them. Next, add the red wine and add your sprig of herbs. Make sure the sprig of herbs is completely submerged under the liquid in the pot. Cook for 75 to 90 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes or so, making sure to use the spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot to prevent burning. Adjust the heat to simmer the sauce.

  4. When the wine is almost completely reduced, add the stock and continue to cook the sauce over low heat for another 60 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning. When the broth is reduced and the sauce appears to thicken, add the milk. Cook for about 75 to 90 minutes, until sauce looks rich and thick. Stir occasionally to avoid burns. You want to remove the sauce from the heat when it looks thick and rich, but when it still has a little liquidity. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

  5. When you are ready to remove the sauce from the heat, remove the sprig of herbs and squeeze it to make sure you have removed all of the liquid and flavor. Then you can discard the herb sprig (although the cooked ham slice is well crumbled into an omelette if you want to save that meat). Stir the sauce and taste. Add more salt as needed. Use the sauce right away or keep it in the fridge for a few days and use it when it's ready. If you are reheating the cold sauce from the fridge, add 1/4 cup of water while reheating to help loosen the sauce.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, I am perpetually inspired by the diversity of food that exists in this city. I love buying from the farmers market, making the ingredients taste like the best versions of themselves, and making fresh pasta. I learned how to make fresh pasta in Italy, where I spent the first 6 months of my chef career. I have been cooking professionally in New York City since 2010.

favorite bolognese

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