(With small modifications because I wouldn’t dream of messing with perfection)
There is no other meat sauce that compares to Marcella’s bolognese sauce. None. This sauce will warm your heart! And I’m not overexaggerating.
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 tablespoons butter plus 1 tablespoon for tossing the pasta
½ cup chopped onion
⅔ cup chopped celery
⅔ cup chopped carrot
1 pound: 1 part ground pork to 2 parts beef chuck (I ask the butcher for the “meatball mix” and it is exactly what I need.)
Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
1 cup whole milk (don’t use skim milk)
1 cup dry white wine (you can use vermouth here.)
1 ½ cups canned imported Italian plum tomatoes, cut up, with their juice
1 ¼ to 1 ½ pounds of pasta
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese at the table
Place the oil, butter, and chopped onion in the pot and turn the heat on to medium. Sprinkle with salt (about 1/2 tsp) Cook and stir the onion until it has become translucent, then add the chopped celery and carrot. (add 1/4 tsp of salt) Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring vegetables to coat them well.
Add ground beef and a few grindings of pepper. Crumble the meat with a fork, stir well and cook until the beef has lost its raw, red color.
Add milk and let it simmer gently, stirring frequently until it has bubbled away completely. Add a dash and I mean a tiny grating — about 1/8 teaspoon — of nutmeg, and stir.
Add the wine, let it simmer until it has evaporated, then add the tomatoes and stir thoroughly to coat all ingredients well. When the tomatoes begin to bubble, turn the heat down so that the sauce cooks at the laziest of simmers, with just an intermittent bubble breaking through to the surface. Cook, uncovered, for 3 hours or more, stirring from time to time. Special trick! Once it’s cooked for three hours, take it off the heat and let it cool down completely until you reheat it for dinner. Reheating this sauce gives it a punch of flavor.
While the sauce is cooking, you are likely to find that it begins to dry out and the fat separates from the meat. To keep it from sticking, add 1/2 cup of water whenever necessary. In the end, however, no water at all must be left and the fat must separate from the sauce. Taste and correct for salt.
Toss with cooked drained pasta, add the tablespoon of butter, and serve with freshly grated Parmesan on the side.