Bolognese Sauce

The great meat sauces of Italy are made in the area of Bologna, where every family says that its meat sauce is the best. An authentic Bolognese meat sauce is so different from the standard American meat sauce for spaghetti that I hesitate to even mention them in the same sentence. Here is what the spaghetti with meat sauce you’ve been subjecting yourself to all your life in cafeterias was really trying to be.

  • 1 lb. round steak, fat left on
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 Tbs. chopped garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups beef or veal stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper
  • 4 canned Italian plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of juice from canned tomatoes

1. Chop the beef into small morsels; you may also use a meat grinder, but keep the meat coarse.

2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped beef and cook, stirring constantly, until uniformly browned.

3. Stir in the chopped vegetables and continue cooking until vegetables are tender and mixture is dry. Stir occasionally.

4. Stir in the chopped garlic, rosemary, and marjoram. Cook for a minute or two, then pour in the red wine and bring to a boil. Sprinkle in the flour and stir well. Add the beef stock, bay leaves, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

5. Stir in the tomatoes and juice and return to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about an hour. Adjust seasonings, remove the bay leaves, and serve tossed with pasta. (Rotini, farfalle, or ravioli recommended.)

Makes enough sauce for about two pounds of pasta, enough for eight to ten people.