Bolognese With A Secret Ingredient


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 2 cups grated carrot
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 pounds ground beef chuck (80/Q-fat)
  • ½-1 cup Pancetta chopped
  • 2-3 chicken livers, finely chopped
  • Salt
  • Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 3 cups canned full tomatoes, blitzed in the blender
  • 3 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes blitzed in the blender
  • 1¼ to 1½ pounds pasta
  • Fresh basil for garnish
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, at the table

Step 1

Put the oil, butter, chopped onion and pancetta in a large pot or Dutch oven and turn the heat on to medium. Cook and stir until fat is rendered from pancetta and onion is translucent, 2-3 mins. Then add the chopped celery and carrot and garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring vegetables to coat them well.

Step 2

Add ground beef, a large pinch of salt and a few grindings of pepper. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon, stir well and cook until the beef has lost its raw, red color.

Step 3

Add milk and let it simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it has disappeared completely. Add about ⅛ teaspoon — of nutmeg, and stir.

Step 4

Add the red wine, let it simmer until it has evaporated, then add the blitzed tomatoes and blitzed sun dried tomatoes and stir thoroughly. When the tomatoes begin to bubble, turn the heat down as low as you can get so that the sauce cooks at the laziest of simmers, with just an intermittent bubble breaking through to the surface.

Ideally cook, uncovered, for 3-5 hours, you could do this over two days so you have a life. Stir from time to time and keep an eye when it begins to dry out and the fat separates from the meat, add ½ cup of water if necessary. At the end, however, no water at all must be left and the fat must separate from the sauce. Taste and correct for salt.

Step 5

Serve with a fatter pasta like bucatini with freshly grated Parmesan and garnish with sprigs of basil