Tagliatelle Bolognese is the ultimate comfort food. This pasta dish is simple and delicious cooking at its finest. I usually put my sauce on well ahead of dinner, as I like the intense flavours after 3 1/2 hours of cooking! Here’s my recipe for this crowd pleasing pasta:
Serves 6 people, to save time you can use store bought tagliatelle or spaghetti, just skip the pasta making steps.
For the pasta dough:
2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon cold water
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups of type 00 white flour
Handful of fine semolina for dusting (or more flour)
For the pasta sauce:
1 medium onion, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 small carrot, peeled, chopped
3 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
50 grams of butter
500grams of beef mince
salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
1 cup if full cream milk
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 cup of red wine
1 400g can of whole tomatoes
1 sprig of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon of finely grated nutmeg
2 cups of water or vegetable stock
1 cup of finely grated Parmesan, divided
To make the pasta dough:
In a mixing bowl add flour, salt, eggs and olive oil. Mix with your hands until the dough comes together. If your dough seems too crumbly, or its not holding together well, add the cold water and/or another teaspoon of olive oil.
Flour a chopping board and place dough on it. Knead the dough (for no more than 2 minutes) to form a ball. Flatten the dough into a disc shape then tightly wrap in cling wrap. Set this aside for at least an hour and a half.
Set up a pasta machine, preferably with a fettuccini/tagliatelle attachment.
Divide dough into 4 equal pieces. One at a time (wrap up rest of dough while you work on one piece) roll it out with a rolling pin until 4 cms thick. Next work the dough through the pasta machine on the various thickness settings, until you have a long piece of pasta that you can just see the light through.
Put the pasta sheet through the tagliatelle attachment, and once cut dust thoroughly with semolina or flour to prevent it from drying out.
For the Bolognese sauce:
Heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy 24 inch Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat until the butter has melted. Quickly pulse the onion, celery and carrot in a blender until a paste forms. Then add the onion, celery and carrot and cook for around 7 minutes until the onion is translucent and fragrant. Add the beef mince, and a large pinch of salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Cook the meat, stirring occasionally until it breaks up and looses it’s red colour and caramelises slightly.
Reduce the heat to low then pour in the milk and simmer while stirring occasionally until the liquid has completely evaporated, around 45 minutes.
Increase heat to high and add the red wine. Cook off the alcohol by stirring for around 2-3 minutes. Add the nutmeg, oregano, thyme and bay leaf, then pour in the tomatoes and water or stock. Reduce heat to low again and simmer the sauce, uncovered, for 3 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally, making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot.
When the bolognese is ready (it will be significantly reduced) in a large pot of heavily salted boiling water, (the fresh pasta needs heavily salted water), cook pasta stirring occasionally, until almost al dente -fresh pasta only needs 2 minutes in boiling water, and it will finish cooking completely in the sauce.
After approximately 2 minutes, remove pasta from the water and using a slotted spoon add it to the large saucepan of bolognese sauce. Add 1 ladleful of the pasta water, and half the parmesan, and stir until the parmesan is melted and sauce is glossy and emulsified, and all the tagliatelle is well coated.
Serve pasta seasoned with more pepper and parmesan and maybe some fresh basil or parsley. Please enjoy!