Spaghetti bolognese (Elizabeth David)

Spaghetti bolognese
As recommended by Angela Hartnett, head chef at York & Albany

“A dish that is dear to my heart. My Italian grandmother instilled in me an appreciation of good food, and my cookbook, Cucina, is about Italian food. For me, this recipe by Elizabeth David is the ultimate.”

Serves 6

225g lean minced beef

115g chicken livers

85g uncooked ham (both fat and lean)

1 carrot

1 onion

1 small piece of celery

3 tsp concentrated tomato puree

1 glass white wine

2 wine glasses stock or water

Butter

Salt and pepper

Nutmeg

Cut the bacon or ham into very small pieces and brown them gently in a small saucepan in about 15g of butter. Add the onion, the carrot, and the celery, all finely chopped. When they have browned, put in the raw minced beef, and then turn it over and over so that it all browns evenly. Add the chopped chicken livers, and after two or three minutes the tomato puree, and then the white wine. Season with salt (taking into account the relative saltiness of the ham or bacon), pepper, and a scraping of nutmeg, and add the meat stock or water.

Cover the pan and simmer the sauce very gently for 30-40 minutes. Some cooks in Bologna add a cupful of cream or milk to the sauce, which makes it smoother. Another traditional variation is the addition of the ovarine or unlaid eggs which are found inside the hen, especially in the spring when the hens are laying. They are added at the same time as the chicken livers and form small golden globules when the sauce is finished. When the ragu is to be served with spaghetti or tagliatelle, mix it with the hot pasta in a heated dish so that the pasta is thoroughly impregnated with the sauce, and add a generous piece of butter before serving. Hand the grated cheese round separately.

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