1. It is highly recommended that you prep all the ingredients and have them ready before you begin to cook. This will make it easier, faster and you will not scorch anything (scorched vegetables ruin the taste of the Bolognese sauce)
2. Grate the carrots, garlic, onions and celery. Place each ingredient in a distinct pile and set aside while you prep the rest of the ingredients (Grating or if you prefer chopping very thinly, will enhance the release of the flavors as you cook them in turn).
6. Add the oregano, stir and cook for 2 more minutes. (The process of adding one or two ingredients at a time allows for the flavors to be released and incorporated before the next ingredient is added – this adds to the complexity of the flavor.)
7. Make a clearing in the center of the soffritto base and add the pork belly/pancetta (which has been chopped into small pieces for faster frying and better texture). Cook until the pork belly/pancetta is crispy and browned like bacon.
10. While the ground beef is cooking, add your red wine to a small pot. Over low heat “cook” the wine for about 5-10 minutes. Simmering over lower heat is better but takes a bit longer. This will de-alcoholize the wine, (removing the carbs in the alcohol content) and leave the rich wine flavor which is necessary to flavor this sauce and give it an authentic Italian taste.
13. Put a lid on the pot and continue cooking on low heat for about 2-3 hours, stirring and checking for water evaporation periodically. Add more water if necessary. By the time it is done your water should have been reduced by less than a quarter. Your total yield should be about 2400 g when done. NOTE: Last addition of water should not be less than a half hour
14. When your Bolognese sauce is done, turn off the heat and let stand for about 10 minutes before adding the cream. Stir the cream into the sauce as you are pouring it so that the cream does not cook. This will lighten the color of the sauce but adds a rich creamy texture to the final sauce.
This recipe is NOT difficult, in spite of how it looks at first glance. Nor does this recipe require a lot of your time from step 1 through 12 (the preparation process). Please remember that working with whole food and fresh ingredients will always require a bit of chopping, dicing etc., but you will be rewarded with amazing taste and food that is actually good for you! So, take the time and you will be pleased with the results.
In Italian cooking, step-by-step directions given in order (as written above) should be followed as accurately as you can to ensure the best results. Please use low heat for the steps as indicated. Yes, it takes a bit longer, but using even medium low heat will burn or char the ingredients and change the flavor. Italians take their time when cooking because the secret is the properly cooked and blended fresh ingredients.
Now for a bit of general interest information:
To begin with, a soffritto, also known as the “Holy Trinity of Italian Cuisine” is made up of three ingredients that are frequently sauteed together, which then creates a flavor base for the rest of the ingredients in the recipe. A soffritto can be made of spices, herbs or vegetables. A soffritto is usually cooked in either olive oil or unsalted butter. As in this vegetable soffritto, the three main ingredients are carrots, celery and onion. The traditional ratio is 1:1:2 but because I reduced the carbs from carrots and onions, I added a bit more celery.
The Italian word soffritto means to fry slowly, which explains the process of slowly cooking the vegetables in oil to just a soft stage which allows the individual flavors to be released.
Prep ahead suggestion:
Lastly, a prep-ahead idea to make your next batch of Bolognese sauce easier and faster to make: while preparing your soffritto, just double up the ingredients and use one half for the above recipe and the other half for next time. Place the extra soffritto ingredients into a freezer bag and your batch is ready to freeze for the next time you want to make the Bolognese sauce. You could make several extra batches while you are at it... just a thought. The frozen soffritto will last for several months in your freezer if stored properly.