I’m not much of a meat eater. But there are certain foods I much prefer with meat or the taste of meat. Pasta sauce is one such thing. (Sorry, my vegan and vegetarian friends.)
A traditional Bolognese sauce is not simply tomato sauce with ground meat, but one that involves milk and wine and hours of simmering. Just a few ingredients, but the result is a complex, rich blend of flavors with incredible depth. If meat sauce is what you crave, consider making a large batch of this sauce and freezing leftovers for a easy weeknight meal. For us, nothing says homemade or “family dinner” like this.
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes with juice or crushed tomatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
5 ounces pancetta or 5 slices bacon, finely chopped
1/3 lb beef chuck
1/3 lb ground pork
1/3 lb ground veal
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 carrot, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup dry red wine
1 cup milk (or heavy cream)
1 spring rosemary
1 tsp sugar
1 pound pasta of your choice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- If using whole tomatoes, in blender or food processor, purée tomatoes with juice. Set aside.
- In large, heavy pot over moderate heat, heat oil. Add pancetta and sauté until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add beef, pork, and veal and sauté, breaking up meat with back of spoon, until cooked but not browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Add onion and carrot and sauté until vegetables are tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Stir in milk and simmer until milk is clear, about 1 minute.
- Stir in red wine and simmer, scraping up browned bits stuck to bottom of pan, until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to moderately low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until liquid is fully absorbed, approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- In large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until almost tender. Drain well and toss with sauce.