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David Lissner
for restaurants

Eat this! Bolognese, meaty sauce of Italy

Francesca’s rigatoni alla Bolognese.

Francesca’s rigatoni alla Bolognese.

What it is: A hearty, Italian meat sauce used to dress pasta, polenta and a variety of other foods, Bolognese is typically made from a mixture of several meats, simmered with milk and tomato.

Where it comes from: Named for the city of Bologna in northern Italy, where it originated, Bolognese is one of the classic sauces of Italian cuisine, dating back at least to the 5th century. Tomatoes were introduced to it after the discovery of the Americas, but they are a flavoring, along with carrots and onions.

What to do with it: Ladle it over pasta, polenta, rice or any food that needs a richly flavored sauce. It’s best used with ribbon pastas or other shapes, such as rigatoni, that hold up a heavy sauce. You can make it in quantity and freeze dinner-sized portions.

Francesca’s ragu alla Bolognese
Bologna-style meat sauce
Chef Laco Seeber

“Although it seems like an easy dish to replicate, many people don’t actually know how to make a traditional Bolognese sauce. It makes for a great family meal or dinner party, and if you make it the right way, you will wow your guests with a simple dish,” says Chef Laco Seeber of the Francesca’s restaurants.

Laco Seeber

Laco Seeber

1 pound whole pork butt
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pound ground beef
1 medium carrot, diced
1 small white onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1/2 cup white wine
10 ounces canned peeled tomatoes
1/2 cup milk
Grated nutmeg to taste

Generously season the pork butt and drizzle with some oil. Roast uncovered in the oven at 350 degreed for about 2 hours, or until tender. Set aside to cool.

Heat more olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat and add the ground veal and beef, cook until browned and drain off excess fat. Add the carrots, onions, celery, bay leaves and sliced garlic. Cook together until tender.

Add the wine and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Add the milk and reduce heat to a simmer. Add the tomato and simmer gently for about 20 minutes. Shred the pork butt and add to pan, let simmer for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and nutmeg and serve over pasta. 6 to 8 servings.

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