Il Ragù alla Bolognese

Tagliatelle al Ragù at a restaurant in Bologna

While I was studying in Bologna this past summer, I stumbled upon an Italian cookbook called “Sfida al Mattarello:  I segreti della sfoglia bolognese.”  I’m no expert in the Italian language, but I believe that more or less translates to “Challenge by the Rolling Pin:  The secrets of Bolognese pasta.”  It was written by Margherita and Valeria Simili, better known as Sorelle Simili, twins born in Bologna famous for their expertise in traditional Bolognese cooking.  Even though it is written in Italian, my fluency in Spanish along with an online dictionary was enough to figure out what the recipe more or less said.

Their detailed recipe micromanages every step giving the impression that this is harder to make than it actually is.  This reinforces my anecdotal observation that for Italians, cooking is as much a ritual as it is a process.  However, if Sorelle Simili tells me that I absolutely have to pour the wine at the edge of the pan so that it is warm by the time it gets to the meat in the center because we do not want cold wine to touch the meat while it cooks, I listen even if it makes absolutely no sense to me.

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