Roberto Morsiani is a master chef from Bologna, the city that gave its name to the meat sauce that goes on spaghetti. Chances are, what you know in Ireland as spag bol' bears very little relation to the real thing. Bolognese sauce is a meat sauce with a touch of tomato, not a tomato sauce with some mince chucked in. Roberto's recipe below would feed from six to eight people. Allow about 150g of spaghetti or tagliatelle per person. You can taste Roberto's recipe at Janet's Coffee House in Dun Laoghaire, but only during the day.
Janet's Coffee House and Deli, Upper Georges Street, Dun Laoghaire. Tel. 01 663 6871
500g of minced pork, loin or neck
800g minced lean beef
200g minced pancetta
100g diced Parma ham
150g cubed salsiccia
250g finely chopped onion
150g finely chopped carrot
100g finely chopped celery
1 glass of red wine
300g of tomato paste
800cl of meat stock
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1. Use a heavy deep pan with a lid. Put 30g of olive in the pan and place on a high heat. Add the pancetta, stir continually with a wooden spoon and let it cook until crisp.
2. Take the pan from the heat and remove the pancetta, setting it aside. Put the pan back on the heat and add the onion, the carrot and the celery. Lower the heat and cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally. When the colour has deepened, add the chopped salsiccia. Stir and let the flavours mix for about 5 minutes, then add the minced pork. Stir well, then add the minced beef and at a high heat let the meats brown.
Purists can cook the minced beef and pork separately, then add them to the vegetables. The reason is that they will brown better on their own than they will when cooked with the vegetables. It's not vital, but it does improve the dish.
3. Once the meats have browned, add the cooked pancetta that you set aside, and add the glass of red wine. Let this evaporate, then add the tomato paste. Take care that the paste doesn't stick by stirring well.
4. After about 3-4 minutes add half of the meat stock, stir well and reduce the heat until the sauce barely simmers. Cover the pan, leaving a space for venting, and let the sauce reduce while it darkens and the flavours intensify. The longer this process takes, the better the sauce will be. Gradually add the rest of the stock, a little at a time, letting the sauce reduce between each addition. Add the diced Parma ham half an hour before the cooking is complete.
5. When the sauce is ready remove it from the heat, cover the pan with its lid, and let the sauce rest. The longer it rests, the more intense the flavours will be. The day after it's made it's at its best.