There are few foods more warming than a homemade bowl of pasta with bolognese sauce. While there are countless different ways that people insist it should be made, it’s almost always the case that simplicity, technique, and patience yield the best results. We opt for an all-beef recipe, but feel free to substitute some of the beef with veal and/or pork if you so desire.
1 onion (finely diced)
1 carrot (peeled, finely diced)
1 celery stalk (finely diced)
2 cloves garlic
1.5 pounds ground beef (20% fat)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of unsalted grass-fed butter
5 tablespoons of tomato paste
1/3 cup red wine
1 ¼ cup of beef stock
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup whole milk
1 pound pasta of your choice (tagliatelle, penne, rigatoni, spaghetti etc.)
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Add one clove of garlic and saute. Once garlic softens, add beef and break it apart. As the beef cooks, season with salt and pepper and add 1 tablespoon of butter. Stir. Sear beef until all fat has rendered. The goal here is to sear the beef thoroughly so that it becomes a dark brown color, which adds depth of flavor.
Once the beef is seared (and all liquid has evaporated), carefully remove it to a plate using a slotted spoon and set aside. Discard the garlic clove. In the same pot, add olive oil. Add minced garlic clove and saute until soft and fragrant. Add onion, celery, and carrot. Saute. Season and add butter. Saute until vegetables have softened (creating a soffritto).
Add back the seared beef and combine with the vegetables. Stir for about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir to combine. Cook the mixture for about 5 minutes. Then, add wine to deglaze. Use a flat-edge spoon to dislodge any stuck-on food bits (i.e., flavor).
Once the wine has cooked down a bit, add beef stock and bay leaf. Turn down heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reduces - roughly 45 minutes to an hour, depending on how patient you can be.
Meanwhile, boil water in a large stock pot and salt heavily.
Remove bay leaf from sauce. Season with salt to taste. Stir in the milk. Cook for about 15 minutes. Let sauce simmer on low heat.
Add pasta to boiling water and cook until just before it’s al dente. Add pasta to the sauce to finish cooking. Combine together until sauce coats the pasta.
Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.