The sauce recipe is pretty much straight out of Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything”.This is one of those sauces i like to make on a cold winters day so the house will  smell great and feel warm. Plan on being around the kitchen for several hours to cook this slow simmering sauce. Classic Bolognese calls for the addition of milk or cream. For this lactose intolerant gal i reserve some of the ragu for me before adding the cream. This is hearty winter fair and is pretty cheap to make for a crowd. Make the sauce in advance- that’s where all the hard work comes into play and cook the pasta right before serving.

2 T olive oil

1/2 cup minced onion

1 carrot- peeled and mince1 celery stalk- minced                                   

2 garlic cloves- minced

1/4 cup pancetta or bacon minced

1/2 # lean ground pork

1/2 # lean ground beef

3/4 cup dry white wine

1  28 ounce can whole plum tomatoes- drained

1 cup beef or chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup cream, half and half or milk (optional for me)

freshly grated parmesan cheese

Pappardelle Pasta- fresh or dried*

Put the olive oil in a large heavy saucepan- like Le Creuset-and heat the oil to medium. When the oil is dancing add the onion, carrot, celery and pancetta. Cook and stir for about 10 minutes until the veggies are soft. Add the garlic- turn the heat down a bit and cook for another minute or 2. 

Turn the heat to med-hi and add the ground meats and break it up with a wooden utensil- cook until all the traces of red have disappeared- usually 5-6 minutes.

Add the wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated- about 5 minutes.

Crush the tomatoes with your hands while  adding to the pot- stir and break them up some more. Add the stock. Turn the heat to low and cook for at least an hour- stirring occasionally. Check to see if salt and pepper are necessary- if so, add some and cook for another hour with the lid on for at least another hour until the sauce is very thick. Check from time to time and add more stock if necessary.

At this point the sauce can be refrigerated and used in a day or two or frozen for future use. Adding the milk before serving.

The final step is to add the milk, half and half, or cream. Have the heat on low as it will tend to scorch. Cook and stir frequently until the sauce has really thickened- another 20 minutes or so. Adjust seasoning.

While the   sauce is in it’s final stages, Cook the pasta according to directions- the Pappardelle is fairly thin and usually cook in under 10 minutes.

Drain the pasta well. Put it back into the pot you cooked it in and toss with the ragu sauce- about 1/3- to 1/2 cup per serving- coating every ribbon with this hearty sauce. Serve with fresh grated parmesan.

*I like the dried Italian pasta products from “Rustichella d’Abrusso” found in many upscale markets. Locally- here at Surdky’s and Broders. Pappardelle are large fettucine usually 3/4”- 1” wide flat ribbons. Use about 1/4 # per person or less if a first course.

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