GINNA PARSONS: Bolognese makes special 'last supper'

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

Monday marked the first day of a new month, and with it came a renewed determination to eat more healthfully and exercise regularly.
But on Sunday, I decided to prepare a “last supper,” as it were, and settled on a meaty ragu recipe from an old issue of Bon Appétit magazine.
The original recipe called for ground veal, which I don’t eat, and just 3 tablespoons of tomato paste, which isn’t tomato-y enough for me. So I used ground pork instead and emptied the whole can of tomato paste into the pot.
When we were in Chicago in March, I bought a bag of Italian fettuccine ribbons that are very light in texture. I used to be able to buy them at the Kroger in Oxford, but they no longer carry them. But honestly, any brand would likely do in this recipe.
This is probably the best Bolognese I’ve ever made. The dish took about three hours to prepare, start to finish, but we were rewarded with a long-simmered taste.
Delicious as it was, it will be a very special occasion meal.

Classic Ragu Bolognese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
3 ribs of celery, finely chopped
2 large carrots, peeled, finely chopped
6 ounces ground beef (85 percent lean)
6 ounces ground pork
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, finely chopped
1⁄2 cup dry red wine
1 (26-ounce) container beef stock, divided
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup whole milk
8 ounces tagliatelle or fettuccine
Finely grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onions, celery, and carrots. Sauté until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add beef, pork and pancetta; sauté until browned, about 15 minutes. Add wine; boil 1 minute, stirring often and scraping up browned bits. Add 21⁄2 cups stock and tomato paste; stir to blend. Reduce heat to very low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, about 11⁄2 hours. Season with salt and pepper.
Bring milk to a simmer in a small saucepan; gradually add to sauce. Cover sauce with lid slightly ajar and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until milk is absorbed, about 45 minutes, adding more stock by 1⁄4-cupfuls to thin if needed.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until 1 minute before al dente. Drain, reserving 1⁄2 cup pasta water. Add pasta to ragu and toss with tongs to coat. Stir in some of the reserved pasta water to loosen mixture if it seems too thick. Divide pasta among warm plates. Serve with Parmesan.
Serves 4.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.