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Fettuccine Alla Bolognese (Noodles with Bolognese Sauce)

Bologna is one of the gastronomic centres of Italy, and ragu bolognese is probably one of its most notable contributions to Italian cuisine. The fettuccine which traditionally is served with it, is supposed to have been created in honour of the marriage of Lucretia Borgia to the Duke of Farrara.

ingredients

4 - 6 servings
1/2 kg (1 lb) Fettuccine
25 g (1 oz) 2 Tbs Butter
50 g (2 oz) 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

ragu bolognese

25 g (1 oz) 2 Tbs Butter
1 Tbs Olive oil
125 g (4 oz) Lean ham, finely chopped
1 Medium onion, finely chopped
1 Carrot, finely chopped
1 Celery stalk, finely chopped
225 g (8 oz) Minced (ground) beef
125 g (4 oz) Chicken livers, cleaned and chopped
425 g (14 oz) Canned peeled tomatoes, drained
3 Tbs Tomato puree (paste)
150 ml (5 fl oz) 5/8 cup Dry white wine
300 ml (10 fl oz) 1 1/4 cups Chicken stock
1 tsp Dried basil
1 Bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

method

1. First make the ragu. Melt the butter with the oil in a saucepan. Add the ham and vegetables and fry, stirring and turning occasionally, until the vegetables are brown. Stir in the minced (ground) beef and fry until it loses its pinkness. Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer the ragu for 1 hour, or until it is very thick and smooth. Remove the bay leaf. (For an extra smooth finish, the sauce may be pureed in a blender.)

2. Meanwhile, cook the fettuccine in boiling, salted water for 5 to 7 minutes, or until 'al dente', or just tender. Drain the fettuccine in a colander, then transfer to a warmed, deep serving bowl. Add the butter and, using two large spoons, toss gently until the butter melts.

3. Pour over the ragu and serve at once, with the grated cheese.

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