Ragu is a classic dish in Italy with all kinds of variations – from different meats to different wines – with respect to certain regions! Ragu alla Bolognese specifically comes from the city Bologna and features a white wine meat based sauce, versus a red wine based sauce like Ragu alla Napoletana (from Naples). You may find some recipes that include a cream or milk in their Ragu, however, we choose to omit this due to taste and health factors. The important thing about Ragu is that it is an open ended recipe, meaning you can add and omit things as you like, so try it out a couple times and see which variation you like best!
First, start boiling water for the Penne and follow the instructions on the package. Then, peel the carrot, then finely dice the celery, carrot, and onion.
Heat up a large saucepan on medium-low heat and add a generous amount of olive oil. Once the pan is hot, add the vegetables and let them slowly fry in the oil. This is actually called a Soffrito, which is a commonly used base for sauces, stews, and more!
Once the Soffrito has turned lightly golden brown, add the ground meat in. Cook until the meat browns and becomes crisp.
Now, gently pour in the white wine. Stir everything together so the meat and veggies are coated in wine and let the excess wine burn off (it is okay if a little bit is left over).
Next, add the tomato sauce in and mix. Let this simmer for 5-10 minutes to let the flavor settle. The sauce should be decently thick since this is a meat based sauce but you can always add more tomato sauce if you want! TIP: if you ever add too much tomato sauce and you need your sauce to be thicker, try adding a few spoons of the pasta water to your saucepan! The salt will add more flavor and the starch will help to bind the pasta and the sauce and thicken it up – problem solved!
Once the pasta is done, drain and add to the saucepan. Gently mix everything together until well combined then transfer to dishes and enjoy!