Bolognese Meat Sauce

This is so super yummy! My father-in-law (requiescat in pace) gave me this recipe. I'm making it today to be eaten tomorrow for Sunday dinner, because dishes like this are even better on the second day. If you like bolonaise with a real bite to it, then this recipe is for you!

From The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
Ann, Clem and Marcella Hazan's Bolognese Meat Sauce

2 heaping cups for about six servings and 1-½ pounds of pasta
(Feel free to double or triple the recipe if you're cooking for a crowd. But then use two pans; don't crowd your pan. Also, this recipe freezes really well, so save some time and double or even triple up!)

1 Tbs vegetable oil 
3 Tbs butter 
1/2 C. chopped onion
2/3 C. chopped celery 
2/3 C. chopped carrot
3/4 pound ground beef chuck
1 C. whole milk
1/8 tsp. grated nutmeg
1 C. dry white wine
1 1/2 C canned plum tomatoes, chopped and with their juice
pepper (fresh ground)
freshly graded parmigiano-reggiano cheese

Pasta: Hazen says that tagliatelle is best, but also rigatoni, fusilli, and conchiglie will do. Coat with butter.

1. Put the oil and butter in a pot with the chopped onion. Turn the heat to medium. Cook, stirring the onion until translucent. Add the chopped celery and carrots. Cook about 2 minutes more, stirring the vegetables to coat them.

2. Add the ground beef, a large pinch of salt, and a few grindings of pepper. Break up the meat and stir well, cooking until the beef has lost its raw, red color.

3. Add the milk and let simmer gently, stirring frequently, until it has bubbled away completely. This can take a while. 
Important: if you want the bite that makes this dish so special, then it's really very important not to add wine or tomatoes until the milk reduction is finished and you can't see any milk! That's the whole key here!!

4. Add the 1/8 tsp of grated nutmeg and stir.

5. Add the wine. Let it all simmer until the wine has evaporated. Add tomatoes and stir thoroughly. Coat all the ingredients. When the tomatoes begin to bubble, turn heat down. Leave it so that the sauce cooks at the laziest simmer with occasional bubbles breaking. Cook it uncovered in a pan Let it go for 3 hours or more, stirring from time to time. If the sauce begins to dry out and the fat separates from the meat, add 1/2 C of water to keep it from sticking to the pot. At the end, however, no water should remain and the fat must be separate from the sauce. This takes time, don't let leave the pot neglected, keep stirring. Taste for additional salting.

6. Attention Busy Mamas: as mentioned in the above step, Marcella and Clem would let the meat bubble slowly in the skillet for the rest of the cooking time. But then you can't leave the kitchen; you'll be in the kitchen all day, because it'll burn if you're not constantly stirring the meat every few minutes. We mamas can't always do that, right? There's too much laundry to do! So my solution is to put it in a crock pot at this point--for the final three hours, but just make sure all the tomato juice is evaported prior to serving. 

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