True aromatherapy has absolutely nothing to do with iddy-biddy candles or bubble baths. It’s about food. A fragrant mirepoix gently sweating in fruity olive oil until sweetly soft and tender, finely minced garlic, a savory mix of veal, pork and beef, red wine, tomatoes, and, yes, milk set to simmer for, oh, around 3 hours? You cannot imagine the heady olfactory foreplay.
Bolognese sauce, the famous ragù from Bologna, Italy, has many versions—some without milk, some with pancetta or porcini mushrooms – but it need not be complicated. The star ingredient here is time. Forget the jar and spend a lazy Sunday afternoon crafting the ultimate sauce for pasta.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 pound ground meat, preferable a mix of beef, pork and veal
Coarse salt, freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup red wine
1 cup whole milk
1 (14-ounce) can diced or crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato paste
12 ounces dried spaghetti, tagliatelle or rigatoni
Grated parmesan cheese, for serving
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 10 minutes.
Increase heat to medium-high and crumble in the ground meat, stirring constantly until no longer pink; season with salt and pepper.
Increase heat to high, pour in the wine and allow to simmer until evaporated. Add the milk and simmer until evaporated. Stir in tomatoes and tomato paste and season with again salt and pepper, if desired.
Simmer uncovered over lowest possible heat for at least 1 hour. (Three to 4 hours will ensure a full-flavored Bolognese sauce.)
Cook pasta according to package directions. Top with sauce and serve with Parmesan cheese.