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- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 pound ground beef (preferably 80% lean, 20% fat)
- 1 pound ground pork (preferably 80% lean, 20% fat)
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus extra as needed
- 2 small red onions, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 1 bell pepper (any color), stemmed, seeded, and diced
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 6 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 can (28 ounces) crushed or diced tomatoes
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 parmesan rind
- 1 pound pasta of your choice, such as tagliatelle (traditional) or orecchiette
- Grated parmesan, for serving
- Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for serving
- Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. If it begins to brown, that is just fine, but make sure it doesn’t burn. Add the beef, pork, and 1 teaspoon of salt and break up the meat with a wooden spoon. Let the meat cook, stirring occasionally, until it is no longer pink and has plenty of dark brown bits, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add the onions, carrot, celery, and bell pepper to the browned meat and stir. Place a tight lid on top and let the vegetables sweat, stirring occasionally, until they cook down about halfway in volume and your kitchen smells incredibly savory, about 20 minutes.
- At this point you will probably have some dark brown sticky bits on the bottom of the pan. This is good! Pour in the white wine and stir to gently lift the brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Cook until the mixture dries out a bit, a few minutes more. Note: The white wine deglazes the pan, meaning it gets the delicious brown bits into the sauce instead of letting them burn.
- Add the tomato paste, mix it up with everything, and leave it until it loses its bright red uncooked color, a couple of minutes. Then add the canned tomatoes, milk, and parmesan rind—which will add a lot of savory saltiness! Stir it all together and put the lid on, just a little askew so a small amount of steam can escape. Turn down the heat to low and gently simmer for about 45 minutes.
- Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the package instructions, but take it off the heat a minute or so before it reaches al dente. That way the pasta will cook through in the sauce, drinking in a little more of the bolognese flavor. Drain the pasta and taste the sauce; add more salt, if needed. Add the pasta to the sauce and cook until it is al dente and totally covered in sauce, a minute or so.
- Remove the parmesan rind and serve the pasta and sauce in bowls, topped with grated parmesan and chopped parsley. Any leftovers will keep in a sealed container for a week in the fridge.
Note: I make a lighter, warm-weather version of this by substituting finely chopped cauliflower for half the meat; I add the cauliflower with the other vegetables in Step 2. It is still lovely and hearty without sitting quite so heavily in your tummy. The parmesan rind adds salty richness to the sauce. If you don’t have one, just add 1 extra teaspoon of salt in Step 4.
Excerpted from Good Enough: A Cookbook by Leanne Brown, illustrations by Allison Gore. Workman Publishing © 2022
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