There must be 101 ways to top a bowl of pasta, and I think I’ve tried them all. Did I tell you I could make a meal out of pasta every single day? Usually I put together a quick sauce using whatever vegetables, cheese or leftovers are on hand. But a meat-based sauce like Bolognese feels special to me.
When I was growing up, Sunday pasta with “gravy” was the highlight of the table. My mother or my grandmother started simmering the sauce early in the morning, to give lots of braising time to the various meats in the pan, which transformed an everyday, simple tomato sauce into more than the sum of its parts – rich and satisfying.
While slow-cooked Sunday sauce can be a challenge to make on busy weeknight, this streamlined version comes very close.
Makes 4 – 6 servings, for 1 pound pasta
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
2 or 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup whole milk
2 cups strained tomatoes (passata) or tomato puree
Chopped fresh Italian parsley
Heat butter and oil in a large, heavy saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and carrot; cook until softened and translucent. Stir in garlic, beef and pork; cook until meat is no longer pink, stirring and breaking up with a spoon occasionally.
Season to taste with salt (start with 1 teaspoon) and pepper; add milk and simmer 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and continue cooking 25 minutes more, until the sauce is thickened. Taste and season again if needed.
Serve over pasta sprinkled with parsley.
beef, bolognese, pasta, pork, sauce
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