There are Rules for Making Authentic Bolognese Sauce? Who knew?
My family loves my Bolognese sauce, so I decided to do a little research on its history and origin and I came across this great post:
“The Real Ragu: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Spaghetti Bolognese”
The story of its origins will have to wait. Apparently, there are ten things I don’t know about authentic “Spaghetti Bolognese!” We’ll see about that!
Here are 7 of my favs from the post (the other 3 have more to do with history and origin!):
- It’s not served on Spaghetti. I didn’t realize that was ‘a thing,’ but I’ve rarely served Bolognese sauce on spaghetti. I like to use wider pasta, like fettuccine or tagliatelle because I want to get as much of that yumminess with each bite as possible. It’s also great with orecchiette. Orecchiette means ‘little ear’ in Italian. They are ear-shaped pasta and they hold sauce really well.
- Italians don’t call it Bolognese. This I knew. It’s called Ragu. I compare this to our use of “French fries.” The French call them Pomme Frites. This sauce is from Bologna, so we call it Bolognese sauce. Ragu means something totally different to most people in the US. I’m a food snob and I can’t bring myself to use the word “ragu” to describe anything I make in my kitchen. Sorry, Ragu!
- It contains two kinds of meat. Hmmm…..I guess I have broken this rule. A lot of the recipes I’ve seen have a mix of beef with either pork, veal, or lamb. According to this post, real ragu uses ground beef and pancetta (Italian bacon). I use beef, lamb, and pancetta. Do not skip the pancetta! I use Tyler Florence’s recipe as a base, and he doesn’t use it. Tisk-tisk, Tyler!
- And more veg than you think. Absolutely! Well hidden in the meat and tomatoes are onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and fennel bulb. Okay, admittedly not everyone uses fennel (or anise), but I love it. I used to do a fine dice of the veggies, but now that I have a kid, I put the vegetables in the food processor so they stay anonymous.
- But garlic and herbs are out. I do use a little garlic. And by a little, I mean I used two cloves in the batch I made yesterday and I had over four pounds of meat, so just a touch. I don’t used herbs (well, maybe a little parsley on top when I serve it). Again, I didn’t know that was a “rule” but I guess I got that one right. The post mentions nutmeg. Interesting. I’m open to that. I use it in the meat filling for my ravioli, so why not?
- Red or white wine will do. Fair enough. I have been using white wine lately. It has been a while since I made it with red. Maybe next time.
- The cheese is worth risking your life for. That’s a bit dramatic but seriously, don’t use cheese from a green can. Freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano is the way to go. Period.