Bolognese sauce

Makes 6-8 servings. Prep time: 1 hour; cooking time: a few hours.

You'll need:

  1. Prep work
    1. Finely dice the onions, carrot, and celery. Put it all into a mixing bowl and mix together. (This mixture is called battuto.)
    2. Crush the garlic.
    3. Unwrap the beef/pork, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Pour in the chicken stock and tomatoes into the dutch oven. Break up the tomatoes with your wooden spoon, and simmer over low heat.
  3. Make the soffritto in small batches:
    1. Melt some butter in the frying pan. (I also mix in some olive oil to stop it burning.)
    2. Spoon some battuto into the pan. You want to be able to spread it in a thin layer across the pan.
    3. Sauté until it starts to soften.
    4. Clear a well, add some more oil, and spoon in some garlic.
    5. When the garlic smells good, squeeze in some tomato purée and mix it all together.
    6. Fry for a little longer until it's a soft paste.
    7. Dump into the dutch oven
    8. Repeat.
  4. Fry up the pancetta, then transfer it to the dutch oven.
  5. Brown the beef in small batches:
    1. Put some beef in the frying pan - but don't crowd the pan! Again, we want it to form a thin layer across the pan.
    2. Fry uncovered until the beef turns light brown. (This is to let the steam escape.)
    3. When it starts "popping", cover the pan. (This is to avoid splattering fat everywhere.)
    4. Fry until it's crispy and dark brown.
    5. Sprinkle with a little flour and fry a bit more.
    6. Dump into the dutch oven.
    7. Repeat.
  6. At this point we're done with the frying pan, but it probably has some nice fond on it. Pour a glug of white wine into the frying pan and scrape to deglaze. Pour the resulting gravy into the dutch oven.
  7. Add milk and hot water to loosen the sauce.
  8. Add salt, pepper, and herbs to taste (maybe even some Worcestershire sauce? Sacrilege!)
  9. Turn the heat down low and put the lid on tightly.
  10. At this point you can do some washing up: the frying pan, chopping board, etc.
  11. After 10 mins, check on the ragu and make sure it's not sticking to the bottom of the pot. If it is, reduce the heat. You should be able to leave it simmering without having to stir it.
  12. Now just let it cook! It should go for at least an hour, ideally more like 3 hours - basically the longer the better.
  13. When you check back on it, the fat may have separated and be floating on top. Don't remove it - just mix it back in.
  14. You can eat it immediately, or portion it out and freeze. I use a muffin tin for this.

Credit to fxcuisine, with minor alterations.