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Chef Rich Freedman’s Bolognese Ragù Recipe

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Inside scoop alert! Recently, while working a private event at COOK I came across one of the best bolognese sauces I’ve ever encountered. Luckily, I was able to try a bit for myself and it tasted even better than it looked and smelled. Rich Freedman, Chef de Cuisine at The Olde Bar, is the mastermind behind this meat lover’s sauce. He made the ragù for his pappardelle dish, which the guests raved about. “It’s such a win, it’s crazy!” exclaimed one of our guests. Patrons asked Rich for his recipe and about the various meats that made up this classic Italian sauce. I followed up with Rich after dinner to obtain his bolognese secrets so that I could share them with lucky you! Read on for the recipe and try it out at home on your next lazy day!  

Ragù Bolognese
Recipe Courtesy of Rich Freedman

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tbsp ground beef fat (instead of butter)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

 

The Meats

  • 1 lb ground chuck
  • 1 lb pork shoulder
  • 1/2 lb minced charcuterie (capocollo, salami, prosciutto)
  • 1/2 lb brisket

 

The Veggies

  • 1 white onion (diced)
  • 4 celery stalks (diced)
  • 4 carrots (diced)
  • 5 cloves of roasted garlic

 

Directions

In a large heavy bottomed pot heat the oil and the ground beef fat over a medium heat. While the ground beef fat takes this dish to another level, you can substitute butter if you don’t have any fat available. But I highly recommend saving your residual ground beef fat the next time you make tacos or burgers for this dish. Once the oil/fat mixture is hot, add the diced onions, celery, and carrots. Cook them for about 5-10 minutes until they are semitransparent; do not brown them.

Now the exciting part, adding the meats! Take the ground chuck, pork shoulder, minced charcuterie and brisket and add them to the vegetable/fat mixture. Turn the heat up to high to brown the meat. Stir often for about half an hour to ensure even heating and browning. Now reduce the heat to medium, add the nutmeg and ground cloves and continue the cooking and stirring process for another 20 minutes. (I know I said to save this recipe for a lazy day and now I’m asking you to stir meat for hours, but it’s just stirring. Plus, your house will smell like an Italian Grandma’s kitchen.)

Now it’s time to add the wet ingredients in order to transform everything into a beautiful ragù style sauce. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 30 minutes. Next, add the milk, stir to incorporate and cook for 1 hour. Follow that by adding the wine, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil; this will cook the alcohol off. After about 5 minutes the wine will have evaporated and now you are ready to simmer. Reduce the heat to medium/low and allow to simmer for 4 hours. Check occasionally and add a splash of water every now and then so that the ragù does not dry out. Season with salt to taste. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool.

Bam! You now have a bolognese that will elevate any pasta dish to an authentic Italian level. To serve with your favorite pasta simply add 2 cups of the bolognese ragù to the pasta of your choice and quickly toss it over high heat. Rich Freedman used pappardelle in his dish and shaved parmesan cheese over top. I highly recommend using a wider noodle such as pappardelle because the large surface area of the pasta allows for maximum meat coverage. Any leftover ragù bolognese can be frozen for up to 2 months.

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