was trying to recreate a bolognese sauce from a restaurant but came out NOTHING like it. not a surprise.. but was wondering if you guys can help me get closer. the one at the restaurant was a lot creamier and more saucy. mine was meaty and...dry? the restaurant one almost seems like all the ingredients ( even the meat?!?) was pureed. how can i make it more tender, pinky and creamy and less crumble like ground meat and less brownish? i did add tomato paste and cream to try to make it a pink sauce..?
First, many restaurants " cheat". Some may add butter, cream or cheese, or all 3 just before it's taken of the stove. That is why some restaurant Bolognese ragus taste creamier. as to other styles, some recipes utilize milk as a base for the ragu along with the other liquids. It's possible you may be browning the meat to long and the fat juices dry out. The fat juices are important to the flavor & volume of liquid of a ragu. If you use a good stock ( chicken or veal) in correct proportions to the paste and solid ingredients that may help, add stock to help achieve the consistentcy your looking for.
There's a zillion Bolognese recipes, just keep tinkering toward the style you want.
Yes the only time I made Bolognese I used Batali's recipe on Epi. A lot of the reviewers said it should simmer for as long as possible, way longer than the specified time of an hour or so. I simmered for 3 hours and kept an eye on how the sauce developed - definitely there was a difference between the texture of the meat at 1 hour and at 3. The meat seemed to dissolve into the sauce more. Although that recipe calls for fresh thyme and I would have added it later.
Part of the issue is that there are a number of ingredients in Bolognese that you'd never realize are there unless you looked at a recipe. Try Mario Batali's recipe from foodnetwork.com - it calls for bacon, beef and veal - truly divine.
I have blended some of the sauce, not all, as it gets too much like baby food. My daughter preferred smoother sauce.
this is how my corporate chef from italy taught me how to make bolognese.
take celery carrot and onion,(and a bit of garlic) mince finely in a food processor and saute in olive oil. (in northern italy, a pad of butter is added to the olive oil, which will in turn make it richer). btw, the veggies are minced finely so that they cook quickly. once the veggies are sweated, add a mixture of pork, veal, and beef. brown the meat slightly (but don't dry it out). add red wine (will also add to the richness) to deglaze and add flavour. Once most of the wine has evaporated, add crushed tomatoes and a bouquet garni. let simmer for a few hours. honestly, this is how i've always eaten it, and we spinkle parm reg on top...to make it creamy, try adding nother pad of butter at the end maybe. good luck.
I follow the Cook's Illustrated recipe which is similar to the one's already stated here, but for two touches. First, they say to cook the meat just until it is no longer red, but don't cook to brown. Second, they add a cup of whole milk to the meat and reduce until nearly gone before adding the wine. This makes the meat very soft and sweet.
Many posts recommended the milk step and i finally tried it a few weeks ago. They were right it came out great.
This recipe is pretty much what mine is like. I don't use a food processor and think I achieve good results. You want avoid that baby food mouth feel i think. I cook by taste so the following recipe is loose in terms of amounts
__ Start 2-4 onions (chopped small) over medium low heat with some salt to sweat them out.
__ Using your good grips or similar carrot peeler, peel 6-8 carrots right into the saute. More salt.. Carrots strips will kinda melt away. Trust me on the carrot peeler method of prep! Don't spare the carrots; they really add an important sweetness to the dish.
__ Toss in Garlic to taste. Before it browns...
__ Add a big glob of butter and toss in 3-5 stalks of chopped celery. The root has a lot of good flavor Crank up the heat to med high or high and start to carmelize the veggies.
__ When you get some good brown stuff sticking to the bottom of the pan, deglaze with some cheap read wine and scrape all of that good stuff with your spoon mixing it into the veggies. Set aside.
__ In another pan saute maybe a pound and half of meat. You can use whatever you want, but just plain ground beef is fine. I would not use 100% pork sausage. Maybe 50/50 at the high end. Veal, game birds, wild boar, venison, buffalo are all okay if you want to play around with flavors. Some people add milk or cream during the saute, I've done it both ways, so you can play around. You dont really want to brown it much, just make sure its cooked.
__ Deglaze the pan with red wine. Combine with your Veggies.
__ Switch to low heat now... You really want to slow things down. Add a few whole peeled romas. canned is just fine, just drain it good.
__ Add more wine, a bit at a time till it gets absorbed into the mixture. I end up adding about a half of a bottle over the next half hour or 45 minutes.
__ near the end toss in bit of flat leaf parsley. Not overboard.
__ Salt and pepper to taste.
Can be made a day ahead or frozen. Reheats well.