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North Italian Meat Sauce (ragu Bolognese)


  • 1/4 pound smoked ham, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped celery
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 pound beef round, ground twice
  • 1/4 pound lean pork, ground twice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups beef stock, fresh or canned
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 pound chicken livers
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


Combine the ham, onions, carrots, and celery on cutting board and chop into very small pieces. Melt 2 Tablespoons butter over mod. heat in heavy (10/12-inch) skillet. When foam subsides, add ham mixture and cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer to a heavy 3- to 4-quart saucepan. Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in the same skillet, and lightly brown beef and pork over mod. heat, stirring constantly to break up any lumps. Pour in the wine, increase the heat, and boil briskly, still stirring constantly, until almost all of the liquid has cooked away. Add the meat to the ham mix in saucepan, and stir in the stock and tomato paste. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. While sauce cooks, melt 2 more Tablespoons butter over high heat in original skillet, and when foam subsides, add the chicken livers. Cook 3-4 minutes, or until firm and lightly browned. Chop the chicken livers into small dice, set aside, and add to the sauce 10 minutes before it is done. A few minutes before serving, stir in the cream and let it heat through. Taste and season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Serve on pasta. Makes about 3 1/2 cups.

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