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Main Dishes - Meat The Classic Italian Cookbook by Marcella Hazan
Beef 1/1/1973


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Servings: 6 servings or 2¼ to 2½ cups

We use this sauce with the Baked Polenta with Meat Sauce, but use it with anything or just eat it out of the pan.

For an alternative, see Ragu: Peter Chastain's Recipe. This one is made with red wine, lots more meats and flavors, and a more intense outcome.

2 tablespoons chopped yellow onion
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped carrot
¾ pound lean beef, preferably chuck
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup dry white wine
½ cup milk
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups canned Italian tomatoes, roughly chopped, with their juice

An earthenware pot should be your first choice for making ragu. If one isn't available use a heavy, cast-iron skillet. Put in the chopped onion, with all the oil and butter, and sauté briefly over medium heat until just translucent. Add the celery and carrot and cook gently for 2 minutes. Add the ground beef, crumbling it in the pot with a fork. Add 1 teaspoon salt, stir, and cook only until the meat has lost its raw, red color. Add the wine, turn the heat up to medium high, and cook stirring occasionally, until all the wine has evaporated.

Turn the heat down to medium, add the milk and the nutmeg, and cook until the milk has evaporated. Stir frequently. When the milk has evaporated, add the tomatoes and stir thoroughly. When the tomatoes have started to bubble, turn the heat down until the sauce cooks at the laziest simmer an occasionally bubble. Cook uncovered, for a minimum of 3½ to 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Taste and correct for salt.

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