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The Bolognese al Coltello Recipe You Need To Try

Bolognese al Coltello is a classic Italian dish that consists of several types of meat, tomatoes, onions, and other spices. Make it at home and serve it over fettuccine.

Pasta Bolognese al Coltello

Bolognese al Coltello (photo credit: Jennifer Arce)

Try this Bolognese al Coltello over fettuccine to replicate a favorite recipe sourced by Max Tucci, the award-winning author of The Delmonico Way: Sublime Entertaining & Legendary Recipes from the Restaurant that Made New York! 

Delmonico’s (Est. 1827), located at 56 Beaver Street in New York City, was originally a French restaurant, but in the early 1900s when my Nonno Oscar Tucci became the owner, he incorporated his love of Italian traditions onto the menu, including an authentic Bolognese ragù. Bolognese al Coltello is a classic Italian dish that consists of several types of meat, tomatoes, onions, and other spices. it is often served with pasta and has become a staple dish at many Italian restaurants. I often prepare it for guests at Delmonico Farm in upstate New York.

For those that don't know, Delmonico's is a historic restaurant located at 56 Beaver Street in downtown Manhattan (reopening in Fall of 2023). Delmonico’s is America's first fine dining restaurant; it has been serving customers since 1837 and is known for its high-quality cuisine and elegant atmosphere. The Bolognese al Coltello at Delmonico's was a favorite among many celebrity patrons, so much so that in the 1950s it became a signature dish at the restaurant. 

Bolognese al Coltello at Delmonico's was made using a special technique known as "knife-cut" (or "coltello" in Italian). This technique involves finely chopping the meat and vegetables by hand, rather than using a food processor or mixer. This gives the dish a unique texture and flavor that cannot be replicated by machines.

To understand this dish, you must know that it is made using a blend of ground beef, pork, and veal, which is slowly cooked with onions, garlic, and tomatoes. It is then seasoned with a blend of herbs and spices, including oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes. The result is a rich and hearty sauce that is full of flavor and simply delicious.

The Bolognese al Coltello is typically served over fresh fettuccine pasta, which is cooked al dente to perfection. The dish is garnished with freshly grated Parmigiano cheese and chopped parsley, which adds a touch of freshness and color to the presentation.

My dear friend Beatrice Tosti, chef and owner of Il Posto Accanto, makes one of my most favorite Bolognese al Coltello recipes. I asked Bea if she would be so kind to contribute her recipe in honor of my grandfather to the pages of The Delmonico Way! Without hesitation she said "Si!" Bea says the only trick in preparing her recipe is to take your time. If you wish to experience this marvelous dish and don't care to make it at home, go see Bea at her restaurant and tell her Max Tucci sent you!

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Bolognese al Coltello

Recipe by Beatrice Tosti
5.0 from 1 vote
Servings

6

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

3

hours 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup 1 dried porcini mushrooms

  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbs. 1/4 Extra Virgin olive oil

  • 6 ounces 6 pancetta, cut into ½-inch dice

  • 1 1 sweet Italian sausage, casing removed and crumbled

  • 2 medium 2 carrots, finely chopped

  • 2 2 ribs celery, finely chopped

  • 2 medium 2 yellow onions, finely chopped

  • 2 pounds 2 beef skirt or chuck, cut into ½-inch dice

  • 12 ounces 12 pork shoulder, cut into ½-inch dice

  • 12 ounces 12 veal shoulder, cut into ½-inch dice

  • Salt to taste

  • 2 cups 2 dry red wine

  • 2 2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes

  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  • Soak the mushrooms in 2 1/2 cups warm water until pliable.
  • Place a large heavy pot over medium-low heat.
  • Add the olive oil, pancetta, and sausage and cook until just golden.
  • Add the carrots, celery, and onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent.
  • Add the beef, pork, and veal and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat begins to stick to the bottom of the pan (5 to 10 minutes).
  • Drain the mushrooms.
  • Strain the liquid to remove any grit.
  • Chop the mushrooms into 1/2-inch dice.
  • Add the chopped mushrooms and their liquid and season generously with salt.
  • Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
  • Add the wine, stirring occasionally, until reduced completely (about 10 additional minutes).
  • Add the tomatoes.
  • Adjust salt and season with pepper and bring to boil.
  • Reduce the heat as low as possible, so that it is just barely simmering with a bubble breaking the surface occasionally.
  • Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until rich and dense (at least 2 hours).

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