Bolognese

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced carrot
  • 2 tablespoons minced celery
  • ¾ pound meatloaf mix or 1/4 pound each ground beef chuck, ground veal, and ground pork
  • ½ teaspoon Table salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes, packed in juice, chopped fine, with juice reserved

Makes 3 cups for 1lb pasta

Don’t drain the pasta of its cooking water too meticulously when using this sauce; a little water left clinging to the noodles will help distribute the very thick sauce evenly into the noodles, as will adding an extra 2 tablespoons of butter along with the sauce. Top each serving with a little grated Parmesan and pass extra grated cheese at the table. If doubling this recipe, increase the simmering times for the milk and the wine to 30 minutes each, and the simmering time once the tomatoes are added to 4 hours.

  1. Heat butter in large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat; add onion, carrot, and celery and sautè until softened but not browned, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add ground meat and 1/2 teaspoon salt; crumble meat with edge of wooden spoon to break apart into tiny pieces. Cook, continuing to crumble meat, just until it loses its raw color but has not yet browned, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add wine and bring to simmer; continue to simmer until wine evaporates, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Add milk and bring to simmer; continue to simmer until milk evaporates and only clear fat remains, 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes and their juice and bring to simmer; reduce heat to low so that sauce continues to simmer just barely, with an occasional bubble or two at the surface, until liquid has evaporated, about 3 hours.
  6. Adjust seasonings with extra salt to taste and serve. (Can be refrigerated in an airtight container for several days or frozen for several months. Warm over low heat before serving.)

Burst Tomato Pasta

  • 1/2 pound fusilli or curly pasta
  • 6 ounces bacon, preferably thick cut, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 quart cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups basil leaves, torn
  1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until 2 mins shy of al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking water.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add olive oil and heat. Add bacon and cook until it starts to render its fat, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, red pepper flakes and a large pinch of salt and pepper and cook until fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook until they burst, turn golden at the edges and shrivel up slightly, about 5 to 8 minutes.
  3. Add pasta to pan and toss with tomato-pancetta mixture; if the mixture looks dry add a little pasta cooking water a few tablespoons at a time. Cook over high heat until the pasta finishes cooking in the sauce. Add the butter and toss until it melts and coats everything. Add basil.