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Pasta with Bolognese Sauce

Beef, pork and veal add delicious depth of flavor to this tomato sauce, which is ideally suited to fresh pasta. Veal demi-glace and heavy cream impart luxurious taste and texture.

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 thin slices pancetta, finely chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into small dice
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into small dice
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into small dice
  • 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 1/2 lb. ground pork
  • 1/2 lb. ground veal
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups unsalted beef stock or canned broth
  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
  • 5 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup veal demi-glace
  • 1 lb. homemade tagliatelle (see related recipe at left) or purchased fresh fettuccine
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:

In a Dutch oven or large, heavy flameproof casserole dish over medium-low heat, melt 2 Tbs. of the butter with the olive oil. Add the pancetta and sauté until just starting to crisp, about 3 minutes. Add the onion, carrot and celery and sauté until aromatic and very lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the ground beef, pork and veal, stir to break up, season with salt and pepper, and add a generous pinch of nutmeg. Increase the heat to medium and sauté until the meat is lightly browned. Add the wine and simmer until it is almost evaporated.

Add the stock and cook until reduced by half. Add the tomatoes, sage and bay leaf. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 1 1/2 hours. If the sauce seems thin, cook it, uncovered, until thick and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Skim the surface of excess fat. Add the cream and demi-glace. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Remove the bay leaf and discard.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt the water, add the pasta and cook until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), 1 to 3 minutes, depending on the freshness of the pasta. Drain and transfer the pasta to a warmed large, shallow bowl. Add the remaining 2 Tbs. butter and 2 Tbs. of the cheese. Toss until the butter melts. Add the sauce and toss gently. Serve immediately. Pass the remaining cheese at the table. Serves 4 to 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Pasta, by Erica De Mane (Simon & Schuster, 2001).