Beef Bolognese Sauce with Pancetta and Red Wine

Published January 1, 1999.

Why this recipe works:

A good Bolognese sauce recipe should result in a thick, smooth sauce with rich, complex flavor. To get this complexity, we built our Bolognese recipe in layers, starting with just onions, carrots, and celery, sautéed in butter. Then we added ground beef. For dairy in our Bolognese sauce… read more

A good Bolognese sauce recipe should result in a thick, smooth sauce with rich, complex flavor. To get this complexity, we built our Bolognese recipe in layers, starting with just onions, carrots, and celery, sautéed in butter. Then we added ground beef. For dairy in our Bolognese sauce recipe, we used milk, which added just enough dairy flavor to complement the meat flavor without adding too much richness. Once the milk was reduced, we added the red wine to the pot for a more robust sauce, followed by chopped whole canned tomatoes.

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Makes 3 cups, enough to sauce 1 pound pasta

All ground beef works best with the pancetta in this sauce. If you can't find pancetta, use prosciutto, but don't use American bacon, which is smoked and will overwhelm the beef. We have found that red wine stands up to the more robust flavors in this sauce better than the white wine.

Ingredients

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