Ragù Bolognese is made with beef, pork, pancetta, wine, stock, and milk. It’s flavored with rind of Parmesan cheese, a small piece of orange rind, tomatoes, and, as it comes from Bologna, once the center of Northern Italy’s spice trade, sweet spices such as black peppercorns, juniper berries, cloves, allspice, and cinnamon appear. The sauce cooks for along time – about 6 hours – and eventually becomes something more than just the sum of its parts. It is best served at least a day after it’s made, so the flavors have a chance to mellow. 

Heat the ragù gently in a shallow pan with no lid. Add a half-cup of water to 1 quart of ragù and the sauce bring to a simmer. Warm over low heat for about 4 minutes until sauce is bubbling hot, stirring while sauce heats. Off heat, stir in 1 tablespoon of cold unsalted butter. 

 Meanwhile, cook the noodles according to instructions on packet. I prefer pappardelle, but many noodles work. Drain noodles in a colander or strainer. Toss noodles in sauce for 1 minute to release starch from noodles to finish the sauce. Place in warm bowls and sprinkle Parmesan cheese over top. 

 ©2019 christopher lee