Sunday, March 22, 2009

Batali Bolognese

After searching serious eats for Mario Batali’s basic marinara recipe, I thought a Bolognese would be a nice step up. By way of serious eats user comments, I found this recipe on

This is Mario Batali’s recipe for Bolognese sauce as published in a 2002 issue of Gourmet. With a tasty looking ingredient list, I decided to give it a try.

* 2 medium onions, finely chopped

* 4 celery ribs, finely chopped

* 2 medium carrots, finely chopped

* 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

* 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

* 1/4 pound pancetta or slab bacon, ground by butcher or thinly sliced and pulsed in food processor until finely chopped

* 1 pound ground veal

* 1 pound ground pork (not lean)

* 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

* 1 cup whole milk

* 1 cup dry white wine

* 1 cup water

* 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

* 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

* 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

I started this recipe with the pancetta.

Per the recipe, I sliced it thinly

And then took it for a spin in the food processor.

With three types of meat in the recipe, I was worried that the pancetta would be lost in the mix, especially being so finely chopped. Nevertheless, I moved forward.

I’ll spare you the boring pre-chopping phase, and skip right to the bowl of chopped veggies. That’s 2 medium onions, 4 celery ribs, 2 medium carrots, and 5 cloves of garlic.

Now to the meat of the dish; I’ve got the chopped pancetta and pound each of ground veal and ground pork.

Trying to be prepared, I had a cup of milk and the wine ready to go.

Sautéing the vegetables until softened

After the vegetables were nice and tender, I added the chopped pancetta.

Immediately after the pancetta came the ground pork and ground veal.

When the meats were no longer lumpy and had cooked to a nice pink color, I added in the 6 oz can of tomato paste.

One thing that really surprised me about this dish is the amount of tomatoes. I’m accustomed to seeing Bolognese sauces that feature a little meat swimming in tomato sauce.

Right after the tomato paste, I added 1 cup of whole milk, 1 cup of white wine, 1 cup of water, and about a teaspoon of fresh thyme.

Once everything was in the pot, the recipe couldn’t have been simpler. All I had to do was simmer for 1 ½ hour to 2 hours until the sauce was thickened. After 1.5 hours, the sauce went from this

To this

After adding the necessary salt and pepper, I found this sauce was lacking something. I decided that even with all that time spent simmering, the sauce was too watery. So, I left off the pot top and simmered it for another hour or so.

At the end of the extra hour, I took a look my project

It may not look that much different, but the flavors really had condensed. It’s still not the soupy red meat sauce that is Bolognese in the US, instead this was a much more subtle sauce that really let the flavors of the meats shine through. Unfortunately, as much as I could taste the veal, the pancetta had virtually disappeared from the sauce. Disappearing pancetta or not, this was a delicious sauce that was well worth the time and effort

No comments: