There is one 'official' way to make Ragù alla Bolognese, registered in 1982 by the Bolognese delegation of Accademia Italiana della Cucina. The ingredients are: beef, pancetta, onions, carrots, celery, tomato paste, meat broth, red wine, and milk or cream.
My version in 2009:
Fry 200 gram pancetta in its own fat. Add one onion, stick of celery and big carrot (al diced in very, very small cubes) and fry for 5 more minutes.
In the meantime fry 400 gram ground beef in very little oil.
Add the beef to the pot, add 500 ml beef broth, 250 ml passata di pomodoro and 250 ml white wine*. For an extra punch I added a small can of tomato paste.
Simmer on a very low fire for 3 hours.
Some thoughts for 2010
Add two chicken livers, finely chopped.
Stir in 125 ml. cream or marscapone in the last 5 minutes.
1) Heat 125 ml. olive oil, then add the diced vegetables and stir over high heat for 5 minutes. Add the pancetta, then add the chicken livers and brown. Mash the chicken livers with a fork as they cook to help them blend into the sauce.
2) Season 750 gram ground chuck steak with salt and pepper, and add. Make sure the meat is at room temperature to allow it to sear and not stew when it hits the pan. Brown the meat, stirring occasionally to prevent the vegetables from sticking. Add pinch of nutmeg.
3) Add the white wine and let it bubble up until it has almost evaporated.
4) Add the heated stock a cup at a time, allowing each cup to evaporate and enrich the sauce before adding the next. This is much like the process of making a risotto and will give you a truly voluptuous sauce.
5) Pour in the tomatoes with their juice, bring the whole pot to a boil then reduce to a low simmer and allow to gently bubble, uncovered, for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
6) Stir in 125 ml. cream or marscapone in the last 5 minute.