Fresh From Nancy's Garden

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Franco’s Bolognese–Perfect Comfort Food for a Rainy Weekend!

Just looking at this photo makes me hungry for Franco’s Bolognese, or as he calls it, Tuscan Ragout. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love going to Tuscookany , a villa tucked away in the hills outside of Arezzo to spend a week cooking with Franco and Paola. And the field trips we take to Ravagni, a family owned olive oil producer since 1421 and Villa La Ripa, a local winery to taste some of the best wines of Italy, just make it a perfect vacation.
It’s been a rain-drenched three-day weekend in Southern California and I’m guessing our long-term drought is over. We’ve had one of the biggest storms in 10 years and after we started to dry out I knew I needed some Italian comfort food. What’s better than fettuccine with Franco’s Bolognese sauce?

Oh–I forgot to mention, it’s best to use a real butcher for the meats…he’ll give you a look when you order in ounces, but that’s okay. For those of you with a kitchen scale, which I highly recommend, I’ll post both measures.

  • 100 grams / 3 1/2 oz. spicy Italian sausage
  • 2 TBS olive oil
  • 300 grams / 11 oz. each–celery, onion and carrots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 400 grams / 14 oz. ground beef
  • 300 grams / 11 oz. ground pork
  • 1/2 liter / 1 pint  crushed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
  • 800 grams / 1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes-broken up (preferably San Marzano)
  • 1 liter / 2 pints beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1 TBS. flour
  • 1/4 liter red wine
  • salt and pepper, to taste
I’m giving the instructions as they are in Franco’s cookbook…sorry I don’t have more step-by-step photos. 

1. Heat a large saucepan. Add olive oil.

2. Add the celery, onion, carrots and garlic and stir until tender.

3. Add the meats and keep stirring until cooked.

4. Add red wine and let it reduce.

5. Sprinkle the meat with flour and cook until flour is absorbed.
6.  Add the tomato sauces, broth, nutmeg and bay leaf.

7. Cook on low heat for at least 2 hours.

8. Season to taste.

This is actually better the next day and it freezes well. 

I enjoyed mine with a Jeri Berland’s Caesar Salad and it was delicious. 

If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can make home-made pasta. (This time I used store-bought).  But here are a couple shots of the pasta we made at Tuscookany.

If you happen to be in rain-soaked part of the world and feel like making a great dinner–here’s one I guarantee you’ll enjoy!

Categories: Beef, Everything Italian, Main Dishes, Pasta

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