Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spaghetti Bolognese

21 March 2009

My recipes vary for this yummy sauce, depending on what is in the fridge or in my heart. Its origin remains, always, Marcella Hazan's recipe, with the added conviction of the milk technique published in Saveur many years ago, per two ancient Italian sisters.

When you chop and dice, make it smallsmall. Mirepoix small.

This should do for two:

1 lb ground beef (on third pork, one third beef, one third veal is best, but that's what I had)
2 big carrots, diced very small (big, old carrots are sweeter)
3 celery ribs, ditto
1 medium onion, ditto
2 cloves garlic, squashed and crushed to a paste
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 cup red wine
2 cups milk
2 bay leaves
small bunch thyme
small bunch parsley, about 5 stems
salt and pepper
Real parmesan

In a hot pan, no oil necessary, lightly brown the minced beef and make sure it's evenly fine, not in great lumps. Use a fork or spoon to break it up if necessary. Remove from pan. Add a little oil if the meat was not fatty, and then vegetables. Cook till the onion is translucent. Return meat to pan and stir everything together. Add tomato paste and stir again to caramelize a little. Add tomatoes. Add sugar. Pour in milk and cook off until no liquid remains. Add wine, stir to scrape up brown bits in pan, and lower temperature. Add herbs. Season. If the liquid does not cover the meat add a little water. Cook, covered, gently, for about 2 hours. Taste every now and then. You will need more salt at some point. Remove thyme stalks and parsley. Serve in a bowl with spaghetti, and gratings of parmesan.

Have a glass of wine. Be happy. How arrogant. Put it this way, if you are not happy, this sauce is a way to keep the devils at bay for a short while. To hold them off longer have a salad of oranges afterwards...

Peel and slice oranges. Dressing them with a little brown sugar and slosh of brandy is sure anti-devil muti.


  1. I am always on the hunt for the perfect Spag Bol recipe. I agree - warm happiness.
    I have recently taken to the Giorgio Locatelli recipe, which is rich (calls for half a bottle of wine!) and delicious. I am intrigued by your use of milk - will give it a bash!

  2. Thanks for this recipe, Marie. I will certaily be trying it in the near future. I find it interesting that it is simmered for 2 hours!!


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