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Mozza Cookbook's Ragu Bolognese

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Merry Christmas! It's almost 1AM on Christmas day, I've just finished the ragu bolognese recipe from the Mozza cookbook. And... I'm worried. I'm serving for today's Christmas lunch and I don't like it. It took me all day to make and I followed the recipe to a T including making the soffrito which took 4 hours, as per recipe in the book.

Anyone made this before? What did you think of it?

I loved Batali's version and the Mozza's version is virtually identical in ingredients but they taste very different. I'm hoping after resting it'll taste better because I don't have an alternative.

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  1. Please be more specific so we can help. What don't you like?

    1 Reply
    1. re: monavano

      OK, I'll attempt to describe.

      It's a tiny tiny bit bitter although nothing was burnt. It didn't seem to have enough savory layer of flavor. Despite the cooking method and ingredients (veal, pork, soffrito, tomato paste, chicken stock, wine, whole milk) that had to be cooked one at a time (basically, throw ingredient 1 and simmer til the moisturize evaporated, then ingredient 2 til evaporates, and so on). It took a total of 4 hours not counting the time to do the soffrito. It's almost impossible not to have layers and layers and layers of savory flavors.

      don't get me wrong, it was not at all terrible, it was good, but it wasn't WOW!

      weird b/c Batali's recipe is simpler in method (shorter in time too) and with the same ingredients yet I liked it better. Maybe it's something I did.

    2. We ate there the night before last. My daughter had the bolognese.
      It was good.
      Is it 4 hours because it has a long simmer?

      I was debatingw about getting that cookbook. Fabulous restaurant.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mendogurl

        You're right, I did eat the ragu bolognese in Osteria Mozza. but it was somewhat vague, I only had a single big bite as the dish wasn't mine so I can't rely on memory. I am convinced it was better at the restaurant so perhaps it is a cooking mistake. But I'm quite sure I followed the direction and ingredients exactly. Hmmm.....

      2. I've read that people have had problems with the pizza dough, too. Has anyone had any outright successes with this book?

        1 Reply
        1. re: emily

          I have made several recipes out of this book with near perfect results. I will say it is important to follow the recipe exactly and not skip steps. Nancy Silverton is very exacting for a reason.

        2. Beignets, I was very excited about making this ragu (hadn't seen your post yet but love Mozza and recently got the cookbook; the Bolognese recipe sounded amazing). I decided to do just the soffritto tonight since, as you know, that's quite a project. I followed the recipe to the letter (not difficult) except reduced it by half. I wasn't ready to risk 2 cups of my good extra virgin olive oil on the untried. And thank God! Round about 1.5 hour point, my veggies VERY suddenly went from deeply carmelized with ALMOST but not quite the "melted" look she (Nancy) describes in the recipe, to black, crispy and utterly burnt-looking!! Heartbroken and in shock I tasted nevertheless and of course it's not good. And, in fact, I would definitely describe the taste as slightly bitter. So -- not sure if your soffritto got "overdone" like mine (or even just slightly), but if so, perhaps this is where the bitter flavor came from? Can't imagine where else.

          Anyway, can't tell you all how bummed I am to have blown it with this recipe so quickly (and at great time and expense). Do you think I should have reduced the cooking time by half since I was only making a half recipe? I did make sure to keep the heat no higher (and often less) than medium per the recipe, and used a heavy-weight All-Clad saute pan. If anyone else has any insight, thoughts or has made this recipe (with or without success) I would so appreciate hearing from you.

          2 Replies
          1. re: pastahound

            Are you saying this recipe calls for a long caramelization of the vegetables? the classic ragu bolonese doesnt involve browning of the vegetables; certainly the recipes I have used (from Hazan and Rosetto Kasper) have a much shorter and slower cooking process for these. and I dont get the amount of olive oil - 2 cups sounds crazy for a dish full of pork and dairy fat.

            Certainly any over-browning could cause bitterness - canned tomato paste can also have some bitterness.

            1. re: jen kalb

              Yes, Jen -- you caramelize the soffritto for this recipe, and then use only SOME of the finished product (which is almost like a marmalade when done correctly) in the Bolognese recipe (you can freeze the leftovers for next time or for other dishes in Nancy's book), so you definitely don't have 2 cups of olive oil in the recipe (or even 1 if doing half recipe). The second time I attempted it (successfully, watching veggies carefully near the end), the result was AMAZING (I knew Nancy couldn't go that far wrong). Though this, of course, is not the traditional way of making the soffritto for ragu alla Bolognese, it added an incredible layer of flavor -- both rich and delicate at the same time (as Nancy says), and SLIGHTLY sweet. Time-consuming, yes, but it ended up being one of the best and most satifying ragus I've ever made. (Did not use canned tomato paste: "Amore" in the tube, though Nancy recommends Mutti [also in a tube]).