Ragu alla Bolognese

The comfort of a bowl of rich tomato sauce and pasta is hard to beat. Pasta is hands down my favorite comfort food and a great tomato sauce comes in at a close second. I am always trying new recipes to match the dreamy, thick and luscious sauces in Italy. When it gets colder, I especially love a great bolognese and this recipe is hands down the best I have ever made at home. I wish I could take credit for this amazing sauce, but it is from one of my favorite cook books Cristina's Tuscan Table. If you love rustic and authentic Italian, buy this book. As for the sauce, you could eat a bowl of it all on its lonesome with some toasted bread. I chose to serve it over fresh linguine, but you could also use it in a lasagna, or serve over soft polenta. Any of those options will be delicious.

Ragu alla Bolognese
Cristina's Tuscan Table, 2007
makes 1 gallon (freezes great and feel free to half or quarter the recipe, cooking times will be shorter)

3 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground lean pork
3 1/4 cups red wine, divided
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, minced*
1 large carrot minced*
2 stalks celery, minced*
3 cloves garlic, minced *Note: to save time, mince the veggies in the food processor
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
1 cup diced pancetta (about 1/2 pound)
salt and pepper to taste
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
18 cups canned tomato puree (I used crushed), about 5- 28 oz cans
pinch of hot red pepper flakes

In a bowl, marinate the beef and pork in 1 3/4 cups wine and refrigerate at least 3 hours.

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the minced onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and parsley and saute over medium high heat until onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add the marinated meat, pancetta, salt and pepper. Cook uncovered, stirring with a wooden spoon until meat is browned, about 30 minutes.

Add remaining 1 1/2 cups wine and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add the bay leaves and tomato paste, and cook 2 more minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and red pepper flakes, and simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Salt and pepper to taste.


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