In the Kitchen : James Beard Ragu Bolognese

You know what I really like? A meal at home alone. 

A simple luxury. Whatever food I want, as complex or simple as I want, reading whatever book I want, with absolutely zero screens involved, because that's what I want. 

But, being a stay-at-home, this tiny life goal becomes immensely more challenging mostly because there is a small human needing your attention every six and a half seconds. However, when the stars line up and I'm able to find the perfect alignment of naptime, errands, and leftovers this is my go-to luxury meal for one. 


You can find the original recipe here. Apparently it's a James Beard classic, which to me, means that it sounds fancy but is inherently classic and delicious. One cannot add to perfection but I will give you my thoughts on the process.

  • The last two times I've made this I've sliced into my thumb trying to chop up the bacon into tiny pieces. It's delicious with bite-size (less liable to knife thumbs) pieces. Don't worry too hard about those tiny tiny pieces. 
  • I'm hardly ever precise on the exact number of vegetables. It's still always good.
  • The browning the vegetables part used to take me FOREVER. Then I realized that I had my heat way too low, so I cranked it up to medium high and the recipe is better for it. Actual carmalization matters y'all.  
  • Yes, this recipe calls for liver. You may think, "Liver is disgusting. I should just leave this out." That would be a bad idea. Seriously, don't do it. Here's the trick- Dump the livers into your food processor and let it spin for a few seconds. By doing this, the liver turns into a paste which, through the magic of cooking chemistry, makes this recipe the silky gourmet treat that it is. 
  • Every time I make this recipe I think, "This is too greasy. Why is there so much oil/ fat substance hanging out in this pot?" And every time I'm pleasantly surprised when it actually works out. 
  • Go easy on the salt. The base of this recipe is bacon so it's easy to salt things like you normally would having forgotten that you started out with lots o' salt. 
  • This bolognese is a spoon recipe. I have no clue how real Italians eat their ragu bolognese but I like to boil some orzo and eat the whole thing with a spoon. 
  • The recipe says the cream is optional. Though it is undoubtedly delicious without the cream, it is definitely not optional. 
  • The recipe calls for parsley as garnish. I prefer a ridiculously super simple tomato "salad", because it cuts through the richness. 
  1. Halve a handful of tiny tomatoes.  
  2. Season with salt and pepper.  
  3. Add a splash of olive oil and a smaller splash of balsamic vinegar.  
  • This recipe is perfect for: rainy Sunday afternoons, dinner parties (don't mention the liver), and the aforementioned luxury solo lunch.