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Mar 19, 2008 01:42 AM

Ragu Bolognese help!

OK, I have a very annoying problem with my Ragu. In lots of Ragu recipes, there's a step where you add milk to your sauce and let it simmer for 4-6 hours into a stew. Now the problem is that when I add milk to the sauce and let it simmer, lots of scum rises to the top. And it's too much for me to skim it all off. By the end of the whole process, my ragu is covered with little white specs of scum. It still tastes delicious, but these white spots on my ragu just drives me crazy! I thought it was because my milk was curdling, so I used half and half and still got the same result. I'm assuming the scum is from the meat now, not the milk.

I would prefer to just forgo the milk all together and just add water or stock if I can't get rid of this problem. I stew/braise stuff all the time and I rarely have to skim off scum. Where does this scum come from? Is it the dairy? Does this happen to you or should I just roll up my sleeves and skim as hard as I can?

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  1. If you'd prefer to omit the milk, go ahead! I'm sure it will be fine. My recipe for ragu (actually my sister's recipe, and she's lived in Florence for ten years) doesn't call for milk at all. It does call for red wine, though. And she adds a little water too.

    1. add a little at a time as needed. also use the stock. simmer don't boil. and it should be moist but not liquid-bolognese in many places is marinara with meat added. 4-6 hours is a long time also....

      1. Have you tried Hazan's recipe? She only cooks the meat until it looses teh raw color then ads the milk and cooks the meat in the milk

        1. Jfood agrees with Jack, look at the Hazan recipe, which jfood makes all the time. The milk is added immediately after the meat reaches pink, not overcooked and is simmered until evaporated, then additional steps. Jfood has never had the problem you described but it sounds like you do not evaporate the milk but add other items and then "braise" the sauce.

          Also, there is a difference between a ragu and a "meat sauce" that people think of. Ragu is a meat addition to the pasta with a background of flavors and a "meat sauce" is a red gravy with meat in the background. So think which one you prefer. If it is the former try reducing the milk away before the wine and if the latter, jfood would leave out the milk altogether.

          Good luck

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