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Feb 20, 2011 04:34 AM

Question about bolognese


I am looking for a good bolognese recipe.. I think I would like to use either Mario Batali's or Lidia bastianich's recipe. Here is the catch- because of a low fiber diet I cannot add any of the carrots or celery that they both call for. What will this do to the sauce? Is there something slightly less fibrous I can add to get that flavor? Will the recipe still taste good?


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  1. If I see another recommendation for Marcella Hazan's recipe....I'm going to kill myself....:)

    Ground Veal
    Ground Beef
    Ground Pork
    Ground/Fine Chopped Pancetta
    Dairy...Milk, Half & Half or Cream
    Tomato Paste.
    Season to Taste


    7 Replies
    1. re: fourunder

      I know there are two versions of Hazan's bolognese but I thought both called for celery and carrots?

      1. re: reatard

        The suggestion above is simply minus carrots.celery and onions......the same could have been done for any Hazan recipe.....

        1. re: fourunder

're response was pretty made it seem like there were no carrots or celery in Hazan's recipes....

          1. re: reatard

            While I readily admit to recommending the low and slow approach to roasting meat.......two recipes are completely touted far too often as bible.

            Marcella Hazan's....... Bolognese

            Cook's Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen.....Eye Round Roast

            I like both, but I like a little more variation and options. :)

            1. re: fourunder

              well now i'm going to have to try ci's eye round roast as i love mh's bolognese. :)

              1. re: raygunclan

                You cant make a lousy cut of beef taste good simply by using salt....I suggest you use the recipe with a Sirloin, Tri-Tip or Top Blade Roast, but reduce the time to only 12 hours, and not 24, for these specific cuts of meat.


            2. re: reatard

              I thought it was clear enough.
              I can't imagine not being able to use such a small amount of veg in things.
              Curious why the OP has to stay so low fiber.

      2. I would sub in onions, garlic & leeks, thinly sliced. Once cooked they practically melt into the sauce. Seems like without any aromatics, the sauce will be one dimensional. Just another meat sauce.

        1. If you want to impart the flavor of carrot and celery but can't actually eat them you might consider making a small pouch of the chopped celery and carrot using cheesecloth which you can add to the braise after whatever liquids you plan to use. When its done you can simply remove the sachet, you'll get the flavor without the fiber.

          1 Reply
          1. Further to the topic of celery and carrot flavors: Can't help with carrot, but I've always found that (reasonably fresh) dried celery seed (such as the Spice Islands brand and others widely sold in US supermarkets) is a very concentrated source of celery flavor. For years I've ground a little in a mortar and used it to slip a celery flavor into various things like dips and risottos. Note, celery _seed,_ not celery "salt" which is inferior ground celery seed diluted with salt.

            Also, fourunder describes Marcella Hazan's Bolognese ragù recipe as touted too often, dogmatically. I believe the situation is more complex. Marcella's famous recipe ("Classic Italian Cookbook," 1973) is delicately flavored, the meat (beef) cooked with a little of the aforementioned aromatic vegetables, then milk, nutmeg, white wine, finally tomatoes. Notably no garlic, lemon, chicken livers, mushrooms, zucchini, cinnamon, dried herbs, lamb, or cured or even mixed meats -- all of which I've seen one place or another around US and especially Europe, where so-called spaghetti Bolognese designates a lowest-common-denominator offering at food concessions, train-station snack bars, and chain restaurants everywhere, most versions unrelated to each other or to anything from Emilia-Romagna. On the other hand I've seen diverse respected chefs from northern Italy produce versions close to Marcella's, sometimes with minor variations (mixed meats, red rather than white wine).

            So even if Marcella's is a narrow or particular interpretation of this truly regional specialty, her recipe must be seen in context of (and as a counter to) random meat sauces carelessly labeled "Bolognese" in many countries, debasing its meaning and perception. Rather as Escoffier's _Guide Culinaire_ recipe canon, though rigid, countered a cynical misuse of classic names for hokey imitations in French restaurants a century ago.

            ("A properly made ragù clinging to the folds of homemade noodles is one of the most pleasurable experiences accessible to the sense of taste." -- Marcella Hazan, 1973.)

            1 Reply
            1. re: eatzalot

              Excellent, enlightening and informative.......Bravo.

            2. Steph I am going to help you. In terms of ingredients I really like this recipe: in terms of technique I find this video of Batali going through every step very helpful:
              I think the simpler ingredients of the 1982 recipe are probably closer to the original intent. The three meat version Batali makes is more the modern version. The idea is the same though, meat cooked in milk until very soft. My only difference between what I do and the 1982 recipe is I do salt the meat after added, I do use one or half a galic clove to make the beef taste beefier, and I do use one herb, bay leaf.

              6 Replies
              1. re: rezpeni

                Why not try celery salt/powder, onion powder, and some carrot juice for the flavor.

                I really like Anne Burrell's (past sous chef for Batali) recipe for technique and taste. The video can also be seen online.

                1. re: Rella

                  Rezpeni's got the right idea- Juice the celery and carrots.

                  Celery, to my taste, plays a huge role in bolognese sauce. If there's any fennel in there then the two of them get along really well.

                  Carrots you could probably do without, I think. Tomatoes ought to be sweet enough after cooking that long you wouldn't need carrots.

                  1. re: Rella

                    In my cooking I can't really see ever using celery power or onion power when I have the real things available. Carrot juice? Never thought of that, but that sweet vegetable mush cooked down in butter and salt with all three vegetables, that really is one of the great joys of the sauce. I saw Anne do her version of Bolognese but the 2 cups of tomato paste and 3 cups of red wine take the sauce in a different direction. I like a sauce primarily built on dairy, a splash of white wine, and no more than a few tablespoons of tomato paste. Mild and comforting, not big and brash.

                    1. re: rezpeni

                      FYI though I can't speak to celery "powder," the reason I keep celery _seed_ around, along with fresh celery, is that the "celery" flavor and aromatics are vastly more intense in the seed. Provided, of course, it's not too old (same as with mustard seed, cumin seed, Sichuan "peppercorns," etc.) Grinding the seed just before use releases the aromatics, but if kept in that state it loses them more quickly. Whence my avoidance of any powdered version, or celery salt, which is powdered seed with relatively expensive salt (which you often don't want anyway, in situations calling for celery flavor.)

                      Case in point: Reading casually of a classic (circa 1930) sandwich filling of blue cheese and celery, I tried improvising one. The celery contributed mainly crunch and water. Next to a good blue cheese it offered little flavor, like iceberg lettuce. But some celery seed easily brought up the celery flavor to taste.

                      Granulated dried onion has its uses too -- not as a substitute for fresh onion at all (except in a real pinch) but for its own properties as a dry aromatic source of vegetable starch and sugars. I use it for that to thicken vinaigrette dressings and other sauces, and in spice rubs. Yesterday I used it to slightly thicken and sweeten a pot of ad-hoc chili con carne that already had onions. But it's a subject for a separate thread, I've found no use for granulated onion in Bolognese meat sauces.

                      1. re: rezpeni

                        I, myself, would not use any of the powders mentioned, but if one is concerned about fiber as the op states, it is a suggestion. The vegetable mush might still be too much fiber for the poster.

                        I'm wondering what recipes of a Bolognese sauce you are referring to that are built on dairy. Enlighten me, if you please.

                        1. re: Rella

                          No def the veggie mush is for us, the original poster should avoid that if he is trying to stay away from fiber. As to the celery seed and dried onion I'm sure there are applications for them, I just don't keep them on hand and haven't come across anything where I felt something could be improved with their addition.

                          Check the 1982 bolognese recipe I posted above, the primary liquid in the braise is milk. That's the kid of bolognese I like, incredibly soft and rich.