From America's Test Kitchen Season 4: Quick Pasta
Bolognese, including our own recipe, gets its big flavor from braising ground meat and softened vegetables in slowly reducing milk, wine, and tomatoes. The process typically takes about three hours. But on a busy weeknight, we rarely have that much time to spend making dinner. We wanted to streamline Bolognese into a weeknight-friendly dinner—but keep all the lush, decadent flavor.
Using a food processor to chop the vegetables, including a big can of whole tomatoes with their juice, cut down on preparation time. To develop sweetness in the sauce without the day-long simmering, we reduced white wine in a separate pan and added it to the sauce at the end; a little bit of sugar, stirred in with the garlic to help it caramelize, amplified the sweetness. Instead of browning the ground meat, we cooked it with milk, which helped to break down and soften the meat in a short amount of time. To beef up the meaty flavor of the sauce, we added chopped pancetta, dried porcini mushrooms, and the flavorful liquid left behind from rehydrating the mushrooms. In about an hour, our sauce was ready, with all the rich meatiness of a long-simmered Bolognese.
Serves 4 to 6
Sweet white wines such as Gewürztraminer, Riesling, and even white Zinfandel work especially well with this sauce. To obtain the best texture, be careful not to break up the meat too much when cooking it with the milk in step 4. With additional cooking and stirring, it will continue to break up.