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Lidia's Spaghetti Sauce Recipe

Updated on September 23, 2013

Mario Batali makes Ragu Bolognese


  • a deep heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven
  • a wooden spoon
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium sized onions
  • 1/2 cup of diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup of diced celery
  • 1/2 pound of ground beef
  • 1/2 pound of ground pork
  • 2 tablespoons of sea salt
  • 1 glass of dry red wine
  • 3 cups of Italian tomato puree (Roma's are good)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 cups of hot water as needed

Soffritto: Buidling Flavor!

1. Peel and finely dice the onions. Then dice your carrot and celery stalk as well. This combo in French is called 'mirepoix' in Italian it's called 'soffritto'. Onions, carrots and celery is the base for many sauces, broths, and soups.

Cover the bottom of your heavy bottomed pan or dutch oven with extra virgin olive oil (3 tablespoons). Turn on the range to a medium-high heat. When the oil is hot it will begin to shimmer. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and sauté for about 4 minutes until the onions become transparent and soft. Stir frequently to ensure that the onions don't burn.

Sear The Mix of Ground Meats and add wine

2. Now you will crumble the ground meat into the pan. Let the meat sear until it turns brown. Then add the red wine and let the wine cook down for 3-5 minutes over a medium flame. When the wine has cooked down ( the alcohol has burned off) you can add your 2 tablespoons of salt, bay leaves, and garlic if you like. Mix together noting the amazing aroma wafting through your kitchen.

Add Tomato Puree

3. Now add the 3 cups of pureed tomatoes. I like to take organic whole plum tomatoes and give them a whirl in the food processor to smooth them out. Mix the tomatoes into the meat mixture and let everything come to a boil. Once it is boiling turn the heat down to low-medium and let the sauce simmer gently for at least one hour. If you plan to let it cook longer turn the heat down to low. Stir the sauce every 20 minutes or so and don't be afraid to taste it! Pour yourself a glass of red wine and dip a piece of bread in the sauce. Add more salt if it seems bland. Salt is a magic ingredient that will bring to life every dish, just be carefeul not to use too much. If your sauce is too thick you can thin it out with hot water as needed.

Prepare The Pasta, Relax, Grab a Glass of Wine and enjoy!

4. Once your sauce has simmered for at least an hour and your ready to eat start boiling water for your the pasta of your choice. Fusili, Penne, and Spaghetti are perfect for this sauce. Make sure to add a good amount of salt to the boiling water. The water should be salty like the sea. Read the package for pasta cook times. Try the pasta and when it is al dente (literally translates "to the tooth" in Italian, meaning that the pasta is not too hard and not too soft when you bite into it) drain the pasta and save a few ounces of the pasta water and put back into the pot in which you boiled it. Add a few heaping spoons of ragu into the pasta and turn the flame on high. Let the pasta and ragu simmer together for 2-3 minute to allow the pasta absorb the flavors of the sauce. Serve immediately with real Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano grated on top (the dry stuff in the green can just isn't that good). Enjoy with a Cabernet, Chianti, or Merlot. If you want a wine that is regional to the dish try a dry Lambrusco from Reggio Emilia.


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    • kitkat1141 profile image

      kitkat1141 3 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Sounds delicious!!

    • profile image

      Marcello Alperti 4 years ago

      I cooked a great Ragu Bolognese in Bologna at the Culinary Institute of Bologna. CIBO