As said in a previous post, my Grandfather was born in the Abruzzo Region of Southern Italy. When he came to Canada, he brought his Italian cuisine with him. 

The dish I’m introducing today is a fusion of my Grandfather’s Neapolitan ragù , which most Italians refer to as “Sunday Gravy” , where chunks of beef, pork and veal are braised in a tomato sauce with hours of cooking, making this dish a delish tender pieces of meat on top of your favourite pasta. 

My grandfather Tony Varze made this dish every Sunday, but one Sunday he didn’t have the time to tend to this labour intensive dish, so he decided to follow his Italian American friends in New York. His friends to the south fused the original recipe by using ground meat instead of whole chunks.  Grandfather called it just  “Ragu” . 

So from then on he made this “Ragu” which North America refers it to “Spaghetti Bolognese” for everyday Sunday. However, on special Sundays, such as Easter Sunday , he made the traditional Southern Italian Neapolitan ragù, which was indeed a treat ! 

So — next time you head to Italy, asking for Spaghetti Bolganaise they’ll look at you funny and may laugh, knowing you mean Neapolitan ragù .  Now you’re aware that Spaghetti Bolognese is not traditional, in the way Italian’s see it, let me introduce you to the quick fusion of North American, most of us are familiar with here. 

Bolognese or Ragu ( North American Style) 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb of ground beef
  • 1/4 lb of ground pork
  • 1/4 lb ground veal 
  • 1/2 lb of diced bacon
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic 
  • 1 carrot finely diced
  • 1 celery finely diced
  • 1 medium sweet white onion small cut 
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 whole Red Chili 🌶 
  • 5 tablespoons of Italian seasoning ( Costco) 
  • 1 cup of Red Wine 🍷
  • 1 medium can of Diced Tomatoes 🍅 
  • 6 cups of tomato sauce ( use my recipe or 2 Jars of Tomato sauce 🥫) 

Method

  1. In deep sauté pan cook the ground beef and once cooked throughout, place to the side in a bowl. Repeat procedure with the ground pork. You may need to remove the fat from the ground pork once cooked. Repeat procedure with ground veal. Place to the side in bowl, as well. 

2. In the same deep sauté pan add bacon and cook. Add onions, finely diced carrots and celery and minced garlic. Sauté until cooked throughout. 

3. Add sugar. 

4. Add back the cooked meats : ground beef, pork and veal. 

5. Add Italian seasonings and one whole red chili or 1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes. 

6. Mix together well and let cook for 5 minutes. 

7. Add 1 cup of red wine and let reduce until mostly gone. Approximately 8 minutes. 

8. Add can of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. 

9. Carefully mix throughout. 

10. Turn down heat and let it just simmer. 

Cook for two hours — be sure to stir it on occasion. I check on my sauce every 15 minutes, just in case. 

Once cooked, remove red chili 🌶 if you used a whole one. 

Mix the meat sauce with Spaghetti or your favourite pasta in a large bowl.  Add a grand portion of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Place in nice serving bowl.   Top  with more Parmigiano-Reggiano ! Enjoy! 

TIP : Do not rinse your pasta 🍝 

Chef Bari 

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