Recipe of the Month: Bolognese Sauce and Meatballs

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Courtesy of Chef Mark Fressell of CRUST

Serves 4-6

 

Bologenese Sauce and Meatballs
Bologenese Sauce and Meatballs

INGREDIENTS

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 cup chopped onion

1 1/3 cups chopped celery

1 1/3 cups chopped carrot

1 pound ground chuck

1/2 pound ground pork

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups whole milk

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, or ground if you’re bereft of fresh

2 cups dry white wine

3 cups reduced homemade tomato purée or canned imported Italian San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand, with their juice

Fresh pasta such as tagliatelle

Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, at the table

DIRECTIONS

  • 1. Heat the oil and 6 tablespoons butter in a heavy 5-quart Dutch oven over medium heat until the butter melts and stops foaming. Toss in the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is softened and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  • 2. Dump in the celery and carrot and cook, stirring to coat them with the oil and butter, for 2 minutes.
  • 3. Add the ground chuck (veal, if using) and pork, a very healthy pinch of salt, and a goodly amount of pepper. Crumble the meat with a wooden spoon and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meats have lost their raw red color.
  • 4. Reduce the heat to low. Pour in the milk and simmer gently, stirring frequently, until the liquid has burbled away completely, about 1 hour. Stir in the nutmeg. Pour in the wine and gently simmer, stirring frequently, until it has evaporated, about 1 1/4 hours.
  • 5. Add the tomato purée or crushed tomatoes and stir well. When the tomato puree begins to bubble, turn down the heat so that the sauce cooks at the laziest of simmers with just an intermittent bubble breaking through the surface.
  • 6. Cook, uncovered, for 3 hours or more, stirring from time to time. While the sauce is burbling away, there’s a chance that it’ll start drying out somewhat. To keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pot and scorching, add 1/2 cup water if necessary, just know that it’s crucial that by the time the sauce has finished simmering, the water should be completely evaporated, and the fat should separate from the sauce. Take a spoonful—or two. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • 7. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter to the hot pasta and toss with the sauce. Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano on the side