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The Peddler's Ultimate Rib-Sticking Ragu Bolognese

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There is Bolognese and there is Bolognese. Not all are created equal and this recipe, packed with umami flavours, will absolutely knock your socks off. It takes time, don’t rush it and prepare in advance. As with most slow cooked dishes the flavours develop over time and this tastes best the day after being cooked. This is the kind of sauce that not only delivers on the promise of deliciousness while you're eating it, but also makes your entire house smell wonderful during the time it takes to cook and for days after you're done. It's totally intoxicating and addictive

I like to serve it with penne, tagliatelle or pappardelle. Spaghetti simply does not hold the sauce in the manner I like but feel free to revert to tradition if you prefer.

Serves 6

2 tablespoons Taste Of Tuscany

1 litre homemade or shop-bought low-sodium chicken stock

1 can chopped tomatoes

140g can of tomato paste

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons of butter

500g lean beef mince

500g lean pork mince

 250g finely diced pancetta

1 tablespoon Vegemite (enhances the meatiness of the dish)

1 large onion, finely minced

2 carrots, finely chopped

4 stalks celery, finely chopped

4 medium cloves garlic, minced

500ml dry white or red wine

250ml whole milk

2 bay leaves

200ml cooking cream

70g finely grated Parmesan cheese

1 to 2 tablespoons Vietnamese or Thai fish sauce (enhances the meatiness of the dish)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

It is important to brown the meat in a separate pan to the veggies, so heat olive oil in a large frying pan until shimmering. Add the beef and pork, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring and breaking up for around 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

Now heat butter and pancetta in a large saucepan (big enough to hold the meat and the liquids) over medium-high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the pork fat has mostly rendered but butter and pancetta have not started to brown, about 8 minutes. Add onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and cook, stirring and tossing until vegetables are completely softened but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the meat mixture to the sautéed veggies.

Turn up the heat and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated from the pan, about 5-10 minutes longer.

Add wine, stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, milk, Vegemite, bay leaves and Taste of Tuscany. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring sauce to a simmer, then cook on a low heat, stirring and scraping down sides of pot occasionally, until liquid is almost completely reduced and sauce is rich thick around 2-3 hours.

Carefully skim off any fat. Stir in heavy cream, Parmesan, and fish sauce. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly to emulsify. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cook 700g (more if you are feeding a hungry crew!) of dried pasta in a large pot of well-salted water until just barely al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of cooking liquid. Return to pot and add 3/4 of sauce along with cooking water. Cook over high heat, tossing and stirring gently until sauce is thick and pasta is coated, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with remaining sauce. Serve immediately, with extra Parmesan.




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