We never eat pasta. Jessica doesn’t like it. Hard to believe. Emily doesn’t want it. Pasta is a big treat as far as I am concerned. Not something I indulge myself in very often. Josh and Fred get so excited when it is just the two of them and I make pasta for them. Pesto pasta is a big fave. Friday, Jessica had three wisdom teeth extracted, ouch. Dinner was not on her agenda and Emily was going out. Gave me the opportunity to make a bolognese sauce. This month Saveur magazine is loaded with a bunch of different bolognese recipes. I went with Anna Nanni’s Ragu Alla Bolognese. A big "wow".
The ingredients I got were not the finest but when something is hanging out in a pot simmering for 2 plus hours, it isn’t that essential to have the best of ingredients. Once I realized that I could make the sauce for dinner, I just walked over to D’agastinos where I never buy meat.
1 28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes ( with juice )
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1/2 medium sized Spanish onion
1 rib celery, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 1/4 lb. ground beef (don’t go with the lean stuff here)
1/2 lb. ground pork
1 – 4 ounce piece of pancetta (I used a slab of smoked bacon because that is all they had) cut in small cubes
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 lb. dry linguine
Put the tomatoes and their juice ( the whole can ) into a blender and puree until smooth.
Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Once the butter is melted add the celery, onions and carrots with salt and pepper (a dash of two of kosher salt and a few spins of ground black pepper). On a relatively high heat, stir frequently for about 10 or so minutes until caramelized. If you want, I didn’t have enough time, you could turn the heat down low after the veggies get soft and let them really caramelize for another 10 minutes but not necessary.
Add the beef and pork. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon until the meat begins to brown. Takes about 10 minutes to get really browned. Add the pancetta ( in my case thick bacon ). Continue to stir over medium heat until the pieces have browned. Another 10 minutes or less ( maybe even just 5 minutes ). Add the wine and stir constantly until evaporated, about 3 -4 minutes. Add tomato paste and continue to stir until it is completely incorporated for another 2 minutes. Add reserved tomato puree crank up the heat for 30 seconds and then reduce to low and simmer for about 2 hours or more stirring occasionally.
I found that there is very little sauce when you are done. It is mostly chunky meats so keep a watch on the stove. Over 2 hours could be tough but OK if you are watching the stove, you could go for 3 hours.
I put the pasta ( after being cooked ) directly into the pot with the sauce. Really mixed it up. Serve with grated parmigiano-reggiano.
Josh and Fred were on cloud 9. Hey, we only aim to please here.