Talking Food with Cory Bahr: Ragu Bolognese

This is how you make a great meat sauce. (Source: KNOE)
This is how you make a great meat sauce. (Source: KNOE)(KNOE)
Published: Aug. 1, 2019 at 3:54 PM CDT
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The following is a transcription of Cory's video instructions. For the recipe, go here.

Hey, ya'll. I'm Corey Bahr and today we're talking bolognese.

Alright, we're back in the kitchen today making one of my favorite things. That's bolognese, also known as meat sauce. Everybody's mom's got their own recipe. Ours is more traditional in the style of Bologna. But I can't wait to share it with you because it's one of those things that you can make on Monday and serve on Friday, and it's still delicious. So come on over and we're going to start the recipe. In our pot right now, we've got some bacon, and we're going to add some ground beef. This is 44 Farms ground beef.

Going to brown that up nicely in our skillet. Now we've got our ground beef rendered out. We're going to make a little hole in the center here. We're going to add our tomato paste. Why we make that hole in the center is so all of that rendered fat will come to the center and will allow us to caramelize the tomato paste. Now that our tomato paste is caramelized, it's time to add our secret ingredient. This is fresh clove that we grind in-house. One of my favorite herbs that complements that is sage. Sage stem right in there. Time for some carrot, onion, and celery. We just want to wilt that down lightly. You see in the bottom of the pan we're forming the brown tasty bits, that's our fine, that's gonna have all our flavor.

Wow! That smells delicious. You can really get that sage and clove. Smell that aroma. Now it's time to add our last few ingredients and let this cook. We have some canned tomatoes that we use. These are alta cucina tomatoes, but what I recommend is just buy the best organic plum tomatoes you can.

Some butter for richness, this is going to be so good. At the restaurant, we make stocks. This is a roasted duck stock. We're going to turn our heat down. Starting to come together now and look like that spaghetti sauce that everybody loves. Pop our lid on there.

Come back in an hour. Now that it's been simmering for about an hour, we're going to add about three-quarters of a cup of dry red wine. Then we're going to put the lid back on and let it go another hour.

Sauce looks great. Now it's time to make our pasta. At the restaurant, we make our pasta fresh every day from two ingredients, semolina flour, and filtered water. Today, my favorite pasta for bolognese is rigatoni. For you at home who don't have this machine at your disposal. What I recommend is going to your grocery store and looking at the package. Look for the pasta that has the fewest ingredients, preferably just two and that's been extruded through bronze, it'll say it on the package. Our sauce has been going for two hours now. It's reduced, it's filling up the kitchen with that beautiful aroma of the smoked bacon, the sage, the clove, the red wine, you can really smell each individual ingredient.

This is how you do it. The finishing touch on this sauce is to add a little bit of milk. It adds a little bit more richness to it, and then it's time to put our dish together. Into our skillet. We're going to add a healthy amount of our bolognese, drop our fresh pasta in the water, give it a nice little shake.

When you put it in the skillet, you have to reduce it. You want to get the moisture out of this sauce so the flavors will just compound. So that's great. You can see that it's getting a little dry or as we call it sec. And now is the time to add one of those ingredients that Italian food is really known for: Parmesan cheese. Using that microplane again, get some parm in there. Big thing, pasta, drain it right out of the water. Little bit of pasta water in there. That possibly water has starch in it that's going to help it stick to your noodles.

This is so good.

Now time to put it on the plate.

You see that through reducing it and adding your Parmesan, it really allows that sauce to stick to the noodle. Again, we hit it with Parmesan, I told my cooks I wanted to look like a snow-covered peak of a mountain. You know just beautifully shaved parmesan over the top. There you have it. My favorite bolognese.