Mamma Mia!

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Italian cuisine  has always been my favorite. There is something about it that is so comforting and always reminds me of home. I have been looking for a bolognese recipe for quite awhile now and I found this wonderful recipe from a Stanley Tucci cook book so I thought it would be perfect to share! This recipe is a little heartier than most bolognese’s I have had and was almost more like a stew, but it was delicious nonetheless and the recipe was quite simple.

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The first thing you want to do is finely chop the vegetables (you can also put them in the food processor but make sure they keep some of their integrity and don’t turn it into a paste). At this point you also want to chop your pancetta as finely as possible. Note: If you can find it in your local store I highly recommend purchasing pre-chopped pancetta because it really is tough to get it as small as you need. I decided to chop it myself but later came to regret it when I couldn’t get it as small as I wanted, so save yourself the aggravation and buy the pre-chopped stuff if you can!

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Next, you will heat your oil and butter over med-low being sure not to burn your butter! Then, add your chopped pancetta and cook it just so it softens up a bit but is not fully cooked. After, add all of your vegetables and cook them down for about 10-12 minutes.

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Next you’re going to add the ground beef and stir it making sure the meat catches the bottom of the pan and browns evenly, about 5-6 minutes.

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Then, season with salt and pepper and add in the wine bringing it to a simmer to ensure that all of the alcohol gets cooked out.

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Next, you will add in the tomatoes, bay leaves, and thyme and stir to combine. Reduce the heat so it is gently simmering, about 5-10 minutes, then add in the milk. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 1 to 1 and a half hours.

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Here is the final product! Serve over whichever pasta you choose, although pappardelle or linguini work best. Garnish with fresh parmesan cheese and flat leaf Italian parsley if you choose. Enjoy!

Ingredients:                                                                    

  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 onions
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ounce pancetta finely chopped
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 and 1/3 cups red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme (I used 3 because I love thyme)
  • One 14 ounce can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 pound pasta
  • Fresh grated parmesan cheese (if desired)

Instructions:

  1. Finely chop the celery, carrot, onion, and garlic. You can also pulse them in a food processor if you would like but make sure they still maintain some integrity and don’t turn them into a paste. Put the vegetables in a bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large heavy-bottomed sauce pan heat the butter and olive oil over low to medium heat making sure not to burn the butter. Add the pancetta just to soften it, but don’t cook it through. Then add the vegetable mixture and stir to coat the vegetables, sweat down the vegetables for about 10-12 minutes stirring occasionally. Then, add the ground beef crumbling it with your fingers as you add it to ensure that it is broken apart. You want the beef to sear and become a nice brown color so make sure you are stirring well so all of the meat gets browned.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, add the wine and bring it to a simmer to cook out the alcohol. Next, add the bay leaves, thyme, and tomatoes and stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until reduced, about 5-10 minutes. Add the milk. Finally, cover your pan and reduce the heat to low and let simmer for 1 to 1 and 1/2 hours. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
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