We were surprised when we didn’t find this recipe here on the blog, since it’s something we make a couple times a year. With a little searching, it turns out we had posted it “way back when”. It was not our best work…I hope you find this updated, refreshed post much more appealing!
This is a “go big, or go home” recipe. It’s a bit of work and is best when left to simmer all day. We’ve adapted it to our biggest stock pot*, by tripling the recipe. We like to stock our freezer with this sauce, for a quick meal or to make an extra special lasagna. Use the best ingredients you can afford, including imported Italian tomatoes…they do make a difference.
* Le Creuset #34, 13.25 quarts. Weight is 21 pounds. Not sure how many more years I’ll be able to toss this baby around the kitchen!
Adapted from Food & Wine, September 2003, 25 Favorite Classics, by Marcia Kiesel
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 celery rib, finely diced
1 pound coarsely ground beef chuck
1 pound coarsely ground pork
1/4 pound mortadella, cut into 1/4-inch dice (optional)
1 small can tomato paste
1 cup dry white wine
Two 28-ounce can Italian whole tomatoes, chopped, juices reserved
1 1/2 cups beef stock
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped basil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream or 1/2 and 1/2
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving
In a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, melt the butter in the oil. Add the garlic, pancetta, carrot, onion and celery and cook over moderately low heat until the onion is golden, about 5 minutes.
Add the ground beef and pork and cook over moderate heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no pink remains, about 8 minutes.
Stir in the mortadella and tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes with their juices, the stock, nutmeg and 1 tablespoon each of the parsley and basil and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until very thick. I like to simmer this sauce at least 4 hours.
Reduce heat to very low, stir the cream and the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley and 1 tablespoon of basil into the meat sauce. Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
We like to serve this over pappadrelle or buccatini pasta, alongside a tossed salad and great Italian bread. Buon appetito.