Ragu alla Bolognese
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4
  • ¼ cup lard (or the same amount of olive oil and three strips bacon)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 rib celery, chopped fine
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
  • ½ tsp. fennel pollen (or fennel seeds, or powdered fennel)
  • 1 lb. ground chuck (or ½ lb. chuck & ½ lb ground pork or loose pork sausage)
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • a few gratings of fresh nutmeg
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp. red pepper flakes (or cayenne)
  • 1 15 oz. can of tomato sauce
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup whole milk or cream
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • Parmesan
  1. Heat lard in heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the vegetables and saute for about 5 minutes. If you’re using olive oil and bacon, mince the bacon and fry it in the oil till all the fat is rendered out. You can leave the bacon in.
  2. Raise heat to medium-high, add beef stirring till it is broken up, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add spices & bay leaf.
  4. Add wine and stir till mostly evaporated.
  5. Add tomato sauce and water and cook over very low heat for at least a couple of hours to three or four.
Very low heat means low as you can go. Don’t want to end up with sludge. And check for taste and consistency after an hour. Excellent base for lasagna. And don’t be afraid of the fennel. It won’t make the sauce taste like licorice – in this small amount it just enhances the flavor.
If you have it and are feeling adventurous, substitute in whole or part, ruby port for the wine. It’ll make the sauce a bit sweeter and richer.
If you're running a little short of ground meat don't worry. I've made this with about ⅔rds of a pound and it is plenty meaty.

Can add an optional anchovy. I usually do.
Recipe by The FrangloSaxon Cooks at https://franglosaxon.com/ragu-alla-bolognese/