I love this pasta sauce – a lot! But I make it like once a year. First, because I try to limit the number of times I eat plates of pasta but also because it is so delicious due to the ridiculous fat content. Not a light, summer-time bikini-season meal for sure. But hey – it’s a cold and snowy February right now!
I found this recipe online and have tweaked it a bit for my own tastes since. But the body of it is as found online and I take no ownership of it other than my own minor tweaks due to personal taste.
When I went to the store yesterday to buy the ingredients I couldn’t find the pancetta. So the meat counter guy helped me and asked me what I was making. I said pasta. He looked at me quizzically. I said you know – spaghetti. He said Ahhh…”fancy” spaghetti. OK, OK. Pasta/Spaghetti, tomato/tomahtoe. I wasn’t calling the whole thing off :) I guessed by looking at him that I probably could have said macaroni and gravy and he probably would have known and maybe even given me some tips!
6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoos extra-virgin olive oil
Small minced onion (changed from 1.5 cups minced red onion)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
1 1/3 cups tomato paste
1/3 lb pancetta, minced
1.5 cups whole milk
2 cups red wine
2 2/3 cups tomatoes (I’m cheated and used canned)
4 cups meat stock (I cheated and bought it)
Kosher (coarse) salt
Freshly ground pepper
Ingredients from original recipe that I left out due to not liking them: 3/4 cups minced celery and 3/4 cup minced carrot
Combine butter and olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat (keep in mind you will have 2 quarts of liquid going in so I use a 4qt pan.) Add the onion. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently until the onion (all veggies if including them) soften and begin to brown – about 15 minutes.
Add the garlic, then add the beef and pancetta. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is thoroughly browned, about 25 minutes.
Stir in tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes. Add the milk and simmer actively until the milk reduces and is absorbed, about 15 minutes or so.
(I lower the temp to low and simmer longer than the original recipe for this part) Add the wine and simmer until the pan is once again almost dry (liquid reduced). This can take some time – 1 hour or even longer.
Post wine, pre-stock/tomatoes simmering
Add the tomatoes and stock, adjust the heat so the sauce gently simmers and cooks for about 3-4 hours.
Pour yourself a glass of the red wine you opened to use in this and sip as you stir and keep an eye on your sauce (yes, this is one of my personal tweaks ;) )
You can use any type of pasta noodles you want. Traditional spaghetti (but not angel hair), fettuccine or penne noodles work best with the sauce consistently (in my opinion.) Pour sauce over your noodles (after you’ve cooked them of course…) and top with Parmesan. Mixing the Parmesan in right away gets it all melty and gooey :)
All of the simmering times are going to vary a bit depending on your stove (gas or electric) and pan. So use your judgment and not just a timer. Simmering longer is always a better option with pasta sauce – always tastes better!
The recipe is officially a Bolognese sauce recipe. By keeping the carrots and celery out and using red wine I tweaked it from that a bit but I think can still fall in the category – especially for this non-Italian whiter than white girl! :) I will also try adding some porcini mushrooms next time!
As I was cooking this today, I was thinking I wanted to see The Godfather, or even The Sopranos. Badda-bing badda-boom – I turn on the TV and on AMC they are playing a Godfather marathon: kismet :) One of my all-time favorite movies – amazing film full of great story and even greater acting.
It’s not a hard meal to make – just time consuming. Good for a cold Sunday afternoon! And it is DEE-licious! As a side note – do not wear anything white while preparing this :)
Pasta hittin' the table...
As husband was taking his plate to the table, he slipped on the wood floors in his socks and all of his pasta almost slid off his plate as he went down. Storm’s eyes were like saucers imagining his upcoming feast! But alas…husband recovered with only a slight Parmesan dusting of the floor which Storm cleaned up better than I could. Even though I spent all day preparing this dinner…that would have been dang funny and Storm would have had a full belly :)