Hearty Italian pasta sauce

September 27, 1998|By Annette Gooch | Annette Gooch,Universal Press Syndicate

There's an art to pairing classic Italian tomato sauces with different pasta varieties. A buttery, full-bodied Bolognese sauce goes well with rigatoni, tortellini, shells or bow ties - sturdy pasta with hollows and ridges that give the meaty sauce something to cling to. A sauce this thick and rich tends to slide right off spaghetti and other smooth, slender pasta.

Making a sauce from fresh tomatoes inevitably means getting into hot water. You'll need a big pot of it for scalding the tomatoes and plenty of ice water for cooling them down afterward. If you're dunking and draining a quantity of tomatoes, a wire basket is convenient. Set out sharp knives for coring and chopping, a roomy cutting board, and you're ready.

A sauce made with wine, ground meat and aromatic vegetables is typical of the sophisticated cuisine of Bologna. The sauce can be refrigerated for up to four days or frozen for up to two months. The recipe makes enough for 1 pound of pasta.

Cole Publishing Group

Bolognese Sauce

Makes about 4 cups (6 servings)

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups diced onion

1 cup diced celery

1 cup peeled, diced carrot

2 pounds extra-lean ground beef

1 3/4 cups dry white wine

1 cup milk

5 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil and butter in a medium stockpot over moderate heat. When butter foams, add onions, celery and carrots. Cook until soft (about 10 minutes).

Add beef, breaking it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until meat is lightly browned. Add wine and simmer until wine is fully absorbed. Add milk and simmer until milk is fully absorbed.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer gently, uncovered, until mixture reduces to a rich, thick sauce (about 2] hours). Taste and adjust seasoning before serving.

Pub Date: 9/27/98

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