Classic ragu bolognese

Yield: 4 Servings

Measure Ingredient
½ cup Heavy cream
10 ounces Salt pork lean; small dice
1 quart ;Water
1 cup Carrot; diced (1/8\")
⅔ cup Celery; diced
½ cup Onion; diced
1¼ pounds Skirt steak or chuck blade roast; coarsely ground
½ cup Wine, white, dry
2 tablespoons Tomato paste; diluted in
10 tablespoons Meat or poultry stock
1 cup Milk
\N \N Salt and pepper; to taste
\N \N The Splendid Table: Recipes from
\N \N Emilia-Romagna, Heartland of
\N \N Northern Italian Food
\N \N Lynne Rosetto Kasper
\N \N per Bill Birner

Cooking the cream: Simmer the cream in a tiny saucepan until reduced by one-third. There should be about six tablespoons. Set aside.

Blanching the salt pork: Fresh fatback needs no blanching. If you are using salt pork, boil the water, add the salt pork and cook for three minutes. Drain and pat dry.

Browning the ragu base: Sauté the salt pork or fatback in a three-to four-quart heavy sauce pan over medium-low heat. Sauté eight minutes or until almost all its fat is rendered. Stir in the chopped vegetables. Sauté for three minutes over medium-low heat, or until the onion is translucent. Raise the heat to medium and stir in the beef. Brown five minutes or until the meat is medium brown in color and almost but not quite crisp. Take care not to let the meat become overly dry or hard.

Simmering and serving: Stir in the wine and diluted tomato paste and reduce heat to very low. It is critical that the mixture reduce as slowly as possible. Cook, partially covered, for two hours. From time to time, stir in a tablespoon or so of the milk. By the end of two hours, all the milk should be used up and the ragu should be only slightly liquid. Stir in the reduced cream. Toss the hot ragu with freshly cooked pasta and serve. Makes enough sauce for 1½ pounds of dried pasta. Chicago Tribune test kitchen notes: "We tried the recipe twice, the second time using only five ounces of salt pork and found this reduction in fat to be quite acceptable."

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