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Bolognese Sauce {Bolognese-Stuffed Lumaconi}

Posted Jan 14 2013 1:00am

Having an Italian flat mate is just about the best thing ever. Think about it, the food that you really, really like and can’t live without is probably something Italian. Some of my all-time favorite foods are ravioli filled with ricotta and spinach and of course pizza, the kind with the thin crust. And when it comes to desserts I just couldn’t live without tiramisu. All of the mentioned dishes are Italian and with all of them I’m not quite sure whether they taste authentic when I prepare them. Therefore I am taking the opportunity and cooking up an Italian storm, beginning with a classical Bolognese sauce.

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You see, when we have spaghetti Bolognese at home it’s really because we either don’t have a lot of time to cook or we just don’t have that many ingredients in our fridge. That’s the reason why all these years the sauce just didn’t taste Italian.

I set out and did some research to find out what really needed to be included in the traditional Bolognese. Even the best Italian chefs didn’t have a common opinion. One person chooses red wine while the other opts for white wine. The first uses chopped tomatoes, the second prefers tomato paste. No wonder we’re all having trouble finding the perfect recipe when there’s so much disagreement among the true Italians.

In need of the perfect recipe I turned to my Italian friend and she helped me in finding, what to me tasted like a superb version of Bolognese sauce. I included bacon cubes, minced beef, onions, carrots and celery and let the ragu simmer on the stove for nearly 3.5 hours while continuously adding vegetable stock.

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You can choose to prepare the ragu by itself and serve it along 8mm-wide tagliatelle {I learned that was the perfect pasta to complement the sauce, not spaghetti!} and a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan. Alternatively  you can continue like I did and stuff Lumaconi with the ragu, top them with a generous layer of parmesan and bake in the oven.

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Bolognese Sauce

serves 4

Depending on how you’ll be eating the sauce cook either pasta or the lumaconi according to the instructions on the pack. Drain, let cold water run over then pasta and set aside until the ragu  has simmered for at least 90 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • pasta of your choice {about 400g of tagliatelle or spaghetti or 250g of shells}
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 75g bacon cubes
  • 1 large carrots, finely chopped
  • 4-5 shallots {or 1 onion}, finely minced
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
  • 400g minced beef
  • 150ml white wine
  • ~4 tbsp. tomato paste
  • vegetable or beef stock
  • 2 bay leaves

Instructions:

  1. In a pot heat up 3 tbsp. of olive oil and brown the bacon. After 3-4 minutes add the carrots, shallots and celery. Fry until the vegetables have softened, for approximately 6 minutes and keep stirring.
  2. Then add the minced beef in chunks and let it brown. After about 5 minutes add the white wine and stir. Let the alcohol evaporate completely.
  3. Then stir in the tomato paste and add about 1 cup of  vegetable or beef stock. Add the bay leaves.
  4. Turn down the heat and let the ragu simmer for at least 90 minutes, preferably longer. Add more stock every 20 minutes and stir occasionally. Before serving take out the bay leaves.

If you’re having this sauce with spaghetti or tagliatelle  toss the pasta in the ragu and serve with parmesan. To stuff the shells, add about 1 tbsp. of ragu per shell. Transfer the shells into a pyrex dish drizzled with olive oil. Add a couple of cherry tomatoes and freshly grated parmesan. Bake at 150°C until the parmesan has melted. Serve with a side salad.

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