A Ragu is a hearty meat sauce from the Tuscan region in
Italy. As with most Italian recipes, there are many variations. The meat
is the star in this long-simmered thick meaty sauce. It's uses are
endless. Goes well over tagliatelli, fettucine, ravioli, tortellini or
gnocchi. Never serve over spaghetti.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes; 3 hours simmer
Serving Size: 8
- 1/2 ounce dry porcini mushrooms
- 1 cup water
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 celery stalks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 pound lean ground beef
- 3/4 pound hot Italian sausage
- 3/4 pound ground veal
- 2 cups dry Tuscan red wine
- (1) 28-ounce can whole tomatoes
- kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- fresh basil
- Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
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Place dry porcini's in a bowel and cover with 1 cup
boiling water. Cover and allow to sit for 30 minutes.
Carefully pluck the mushrooms out and place on a cutting
board to chop. Reserve the liquid. Clean and then chop onion
and celery into large chucks. Place in a food processor and
pulse until chopped fine, but not minced. Heat olive oil
over medium heat in a large heavy-bottom Dutch oven. Add
onions and celery. Sprinkle with a little salt and stir.
Cook, stirring often, until well softened, about 5 minutes.
If the Italian sausage is in links, remove from the casings.
Break the ground beef, sausage and veal over the softened
vegetables. Sprinkle with a little salt and fresh cracked
black pepper. Turn heat up slightly and brown the meat,
stirring often, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat back down to
medium and strain the reserved mushroom liquid into the pot.
Add the chopped mushrooms and pour in the wine. Stir well.
Pour the canned whole tomatoes into a large bowl and crush
by hand. Add the crushed tomatoes and its juice to the pot.
Stir well. Allow to come back to heat. Adjust to allow a
rapid simmer, but not a full boil. Simmer for 2 1/2 to 3
hours, uncovered, stirring often. Watch closely the last 30
minutes to avoid it drying out. Add 1/2 cup water at a time
if necessary. Sauce is done when it develops a rich mahogany
color and has thickened, almost to the look and consistency
of sloppy joes. Serve as desired with chiffonade fresh basil
and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and a drizzle or two of olive