Ragù Bolognese

Discussion in 'Whats Cooking? Food, Drink, & Gear' started by ptolemy, Jan 21, 2020.

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  1. Jan 21, 2020 #1

    ptolemy

    ptolemy

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    I made this about 10 days ago. Pretty much followed this recipe with few minor changes: chicken livers were switched to rabbit livers (all I had). Whole milk instead of cream and Uruguayan Reggianito Cheese instead of the 'real' thing.

    It tasted good, but there were few things I learned from it.
    • One, I need to use different type of pot than what I used, since it didn't evaporate as much as his.
    • I need to use less fat than I used.
    • I need to skim much more fat than I thought I need to
    I had it 3-4 times now and few things I wanted to adjust (short of using authentic cheese, as I was out of the stuff). To me, it lacks flavor. By that, I don't mean salt or pepper - just depth and strength of it. I never had authentic bolognese prepared by someone who had made it before and considers it very good version, so perhaps I am missing something...

    After a few times, here is what I adjusted it. Cooked it on the stove another 20-30 min to reduce it even more. Got all the fat out (it didnt emulsify with milk and cheese for some reason). Then when I cook pasta, I undercook it by 2 min and mix it with sauce and adjust it by adding more cheese and few red flakes. Not to make it spicy, but to add just a hint of spice. Perhaps its not authentic, but to me, it seems to be needed.
     
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  2. Jan 21, 2020 #2

    Badgertooth

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  3. Jan 21, 2020 #3

    Nemo

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  4. Jan 21, 2020 #4

    ptolemy

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    oh, ty both. i didnt search that generic!
     
  5. Jan 21, 2020 #5

    MrHiggins

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    Every time I make Bolognese, I'm surprised how bland it is relative to how many rich ingredients are packed into it. I still really like it. Next time I'll make it with a pinch of msg. Maybe that's what yours is missing.
     
  6. Jan 21, 2020 #6

    WildBoar

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    That's interesting. While it should not hit you over the head with sharp flavors it should be pretty flavorful. Maybe there is not enough acid? That can vary a bit depending on the tomatoes. And if you add dairy (which seems to be hotly debated), that will mute the flavor a little, but add to the mouthfeel.
     
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  7. Jan 21, 2020 #7

    ptolemy

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    perhaps, the wine wasn't too dry i used whole milk. i may have to try different wine or maybe balance with bit of lemon juice of vinegar
     
  8. Jan 21, 2020 #8

    WildBoar

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    In my experience definitely use heavy or whipping cream, and not whole milk. Whole milk brings nothing useful to the party (I've tried it before and can confirm) Cream adds mouthfeel and adds a nice, uh, creamy taste in the background.
     
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  9. Jan 21, 2020 #9

    TSF415

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    Didn’t watch the whole vid but skimmed through it. I don’t think the recipe is that bad but the way he builds it is. It’s like a good looking knife with a bad heat treat.

    I’d start with the meats first and get some nice caramelization. Then add milk if you’re planning on using that. Cook that down to bring out its sweetness while keeping the meats moist. I would then go straight in with the veg and cook those down. Than deglaze with some wine and cook that down. And then in with the tomatoes.
     
  10. Jan 21, 2020 #10

    lumo

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    This is like twenty years old, trying recreate what I tasted in Bologna with notes from Marcella Hazan. From what I remember the milk was to help keep the meat tender and "sweet"...also why the meat is not caramelized and the use of white wine. I'll be making a batch of cotechino soon for fun, a little of that'd be nice in there as well. It works for me

    3 oz evoo
    6 whole garlic cloves sliced
    3 onions, small diced almost brunoise
    3 carrots, small diced almost brunoise
    3 stalks celery, small diced almost brunoise
    .5 qt pancetta, small diced almost brunoise
    3 T rosemary, chopped
    3 T sage, chopped
    3# ground veal
    3# ground pork
    3# ground beef
    .75 L dry white wine
    1.5 qt milk
    1.5 qt milled tomato
    1.5 qt brodo, (neutral white veal, pork and chicken stock) or 1.5 qt chicken stock
    3 qt veal stock
    16 oz chicken livers

    Heat evoo in a large pot with the garlic, start with cold oil, cold pot, cold garlic, toast, remove and discard. Add carrots and caramelize lightly, add the onions and celery, do the same. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

    Add the pancetta, sage and rosemary and sauté until the flavors have bloomed.

    Add the ground meat and sauté until it’s almost cooked through. Add milk and simmer for about twenty minutes. Simmer white wine separately, reduce by half and add to the pot along with the brodo, veal and milled tomato. Cook to slowly reducing by about 15-20% depending on the quality and thickness of the stocks. Skim as much fat as you prefer, I like to leave a decent amount behind and fold it back into the sauce as it cools. Pull sauce off and begin to chill it.

    Season the chicken livers with salt and pepper, and sear to rare-medium rare. Cool and then chop and add to the sauce once it has cooled to the touch but not completely congealed. Use a heavy whisk to incorporate the livers into the cooling sauce.

    To order for one portion we reheat about 6 oz sauce, splash of milled tomato (2 oz) a pinch of sage & rosemary, s & p, and a touch of crushed red pepper, sauce is finished with chopped parsley, butter and grated grana padano or parmigiano cheese.
     
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  11. Jan 21, 2020 #11

    WildBoar

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    ^^ Thanks for posting Luis. Made me remember the first recipe I used for wild boar ragu was prepared in this manner. It results in very soft/ tender meat. The last few times I made it though I opted to brown/ caramelize for a little more flavor. It makes it a bit tougher, so think of the comparison between ribeye and NY strip steak. For me, there is a time/ place for each method, but I largely favor going with the deeper flavor.
     
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  12. Jan 21, 2020 #12

    Chuckles

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    All the recipes look sound. This is the type of dish I save parm rinds for. I also favor whole sprigs of sage and rosemary and remove them before serving. Generous with these herbs. Parsley at the end. And don’t go overboard with the liver.
     
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  13. Jan 21, 2020 #13

    lumo

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    David, ever notice, caramelizing wild boar usually smells like chocolate to me :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
  14. Jan 21, 2020 #14

    ptolemy

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    Yes, for sure,the meat is very tender :)
     
  15. Jan 21, 2020 #15

    TRPV4

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    that’s unusual, normally Kenji’s stuff should be pretty good. If you think the flavour is lacking then try making your own reduced beef/veal stock (add dashi and roasted shiitake to the stock and roast the bones) instead of the store bought chicken. Add the anchovy fillets, parm rind, miso!, fish sauce. FWIW I don’t use 20% fat if using mince, since you skim a lot of it and probably lose the aromatic compounds in solution. good luck?
     
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  16. Jan 21, 2020 #16

    WildBoar

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    I need to order some wild boar from D'artagnan. It's been about two years since I last had any. It's 24 degrees F this morning -- this is definitely wild boar stew/ ragu weather.
     
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  17. Jan 21, 2020 #17

    lemeneid

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  18. Jan 21, 2020 #18

    Xenif

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    Heres something out of left field but works wonders for enhancing ragu I found very useful: Aka-Miso (Red Miso)

    Edit: just noticed that was already mentioned
     
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  19. Jan 21, 2020 #19

    LucasFur

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    The Parmesan rinds for ragu is amazing, I scrape them clean, cut out the black lettering/branding, when the ragu is 90% done, fish out those bad-boys and enjoy on their own. TO-DIE-FOR.
     
  20. Jan 21, 2020 #20

    HRC_64

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    If one cooks this dish properly, they are basically making a rich dish, with sausage-type flavours (pork, beef, sage, rosemary, liver, bacon/fat) + caramelized sugars (onion, carrot) + a small amount of "fresh" fruit/tomatoe to cut the richness (sugar/acid) + finished in dairy/aged cheese (to round out and add depth)...
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2020
  21. Jan 21, 2020 #21

    boomchakabowwow

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    i bought this Saveur italian cookbook solely for their Ragu Bolognese recipe. it was super involved (for me) but damn..it was delicious.

    i learned alot about milk, livers and etc.
     
  22. Jan 21, 2020 #22

    Boynutman

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    Not recipe related. But what I have noticed over the years is that less ragu and more pasta make a better meal, then it really works together. Brings out the ragu taste more.
    When starting out cooking 30 years ago I just drowned the pasta in ‘ragu’ red sauce like in the tv commercials. With hindsight that was plain awful.
     
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  23. Jan 21, 2020 #23

    boomchakabowwow

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    right. visiting italy opened my eyes. they lightly dress pasta over there.
     
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  24. Jan 21, 2020 #24

    TSF415

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    All the extra ingredients mentioned can be useful but cooking the meat and veggies properly and bringing out their natural flavors will yield the best result.
     
  25. Jan 21, 2020 #25

    rickbern

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    This is the best advice. Also, try to find great pasta for it
     
  26. Jan 21, 2020 #26

    Michi

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    No-one really ever taught me how to make bolognese sauce, and I've never used a recipe. (I just knew that cooking sugo for a long time works really well.) All these years, I've gradually homed in on something by tasting and figuring out what needs to be added to make it taste right.

    It turns out that, with all this experimentation, I arrived at something that is virtually the same as Kenji's recipe, with two omissions and one addition: I've never added liver or bacon, and I usually add a spoon or two of Vegemite (which works wonders for adding body).

    Now I'm inspired to give Kenji's recipe a try; the liver might have a similar effect as the Vegemite, I think :)
     
  27. Jan 22, 2020 #27

    WildBoar

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    I do not include livers, but will usually saute some panchetta.
     
  28. Jan 22, 2020 #28

    lumo

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    Oh yeah do it, I ran a porcini pappardelle with wild boar cacciatore, cipolini, porcini, tomato & sage for a couple weeks.
     
  29. Jan 22, 2020 #29

    WildBoar

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    That sounds great. Did you cube the shoulder or pull it apart into chunks after braising?
     
  30. Jan 22, 2020 #30

    rickbern

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