Bolognese Meat Sauce
Ragù, as the Bolognese call their celebrated meat sauce, is characterized by mellow, gentle, comfortable flavor that any cook can achieve by being careful about a few basic points: The meat should not be from too lean a cut; the more marbled it is, the sweeter the ragù will be. The most desirable cut of beef is the neck portion of the chuck. Add salt immediately when sauteing the meat to extract its juices for the subsequent benefit of the sauce. Cook the meat in milk before adding wine and tomatoes to protect it from the acidic bite of the latter. Do not use a demiglace or other concentrates that tip the balance of flavors toward harshness. Use a pot that retains heat. Earthenware is preferred in Bologna and by most cooks in Emilia-Romagna, but enameled cast-iron pans or a pot whose heavy bottom is composed of layers of steel alloys are fully satisfactory.Reprinted with permission from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan. Copyright 1992 by Marcella Hazan. Published by Knopf.