I love spending rainy days at home with my family. Listening to music, snacking on our finds from the farmers market, and cooking dishes for the week to come. After our stop over at the Larchmont Farmers Market today, André and I went by our favorite place to buy meat on the eastside, McCall’s Meat and Fish Company. There we picked up some of the Burger Blend to use in a Bolognese Sauce. I like to cook my meat sauce on Sunday so that the flavors have time to marry before we eat it later in the week. You can even make a large batch and freeze it. Full of fall flavor, this recipe is simple to execute and always a crowd pleaser.
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons organic unsalted butter, plus 1 tablespoon for tossing with the pasta
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery chopped
1 lb ground beef, do not use a lean cut, the more marbled the meat the sweeter the ragu
1 cup organic whole milk
1 cup dry white or red wine ( I used red for this batch)
2 1/2 cups, canned imported Italian plum tomatoes with juices
1 1/4 lbs pasta, I like to use rigatoni
fresh cracked pepper
freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
fresh italian parsley
Put the oil and butter in a pot and turn the heat to medium. Add the onions, carrots, and celery. Stir to coat and cook until the onions have become translucent and the vegetables have started to soften, around 5 minutes.
Add the ground beef, a generous pinch of salt, and some cracked pepper. Stir well and cook until the beef has lost its raw, red color.
Add the milk and let simmer gently, stirring frequently, until all liquid has bubbled away. This may take a while so be patient. After the milk has evaporated, add a tiny grating of the nutmeg and stir.
Add the wine and let simmer gently, stirring frequently, until all the liquid has bubbled away. Once the liquid is gone, add the tomatoes and stir thoroughly to coat the ingredients. Once the tomatoes begin to bubble, turn the heat down to the laziest simmer and cook the sauce, uncovered for 3 hours, stirring from time to time. If the sauce looks like it is drying out, simply add 1/2 cup of water whenever necessary. At the end, however, no water at all must be left. Taste and correct for salt and pepper.
When ready to eat, toss cooked drained pasta with a tablespoon of butter and top with a generous scoop of bolognese. Sprinkle with a little chopped parsley and serve with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano on the side.
Adapted from Marcella Hazan’s, Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.