Meat sauce Bolognese (sugo alla Bolognese)
Adapted from Lidia's Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali.
You can use a fine Microplane grater to easily shred the carrot.
Makes 6 ups, enough to dress about 1 1/2 pounds cooked dried pasta.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, minced (about 1 cup)
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely shredded (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup minced celery, with leaves
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 tablespoon tomato paste
3 cups canned Italian plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, crushed by hand or passed through a food mill
3 fresh or 2 dried bay leaves
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Bring 4 cups water to simmer in a small saucepan, and keep it hot. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion, carry and celery, and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent, about 7 minutes.
Crumble in the ground beef and pork, and continue cooking, stirring to break up the meat, until all the liquid the meat has given off has evaporated and the meat is lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Pour in the wine, and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, until the wine is evaporated, 3 to 4 minutes. Add in the tomato paste into a bare spot in the pan and cook a few minutes, then pour in the tomatoes, toss in the bay leaves, and season with salt and some pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the sauce is at a lively simmer. Cover, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is dense but juicy and a rich dark red color. This will take about 2 to 3 hours – the longer you cook it, the better it will become. While the sauce is cooking, add hot water as necessary to keep the meat and vegetables covered. (Most likely, a noticeable layer of oil will float to the top toward the end of cooking. When you are done, the oil can be removed with a spoon or reincorporated in the sauce, which is what is traditionally done.)