I made it again for family back home. I was cooking in my dad's kitchen when my, well, since my family tree can get a bit tricky (we joke you should use Post-it notes when explaining it since things move around so much), let's call him my brother-in-law, walks in. So my brother-in-law walked in with his wife (we'll call her my beautiful step-sister) and stopped at the entrance to the kitchen and didn't move. He just stood there, smiling and sniffing, then threw his hands up in the air and proclaimed, "Now this is why we moved back home! Good, home cooking. Are we doing a big Thanksgiving again this year? With the deep-fried turkeys? Yes!" The smell had totally "brought him home." :0)
I apologize for not having any photos, but trust me when I tell you this is a savory dish you really out to try [just make sure you have the time]!
Yields: 4-6 servings
- 2 tbsp EVOO
- 1/4 lb ground pancetta, cut small dice or ground
- 1 lb ground sirloin
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 onion, cut into small dice
- 1 carrot, cut into small dice
- 2 celery stalks, cut into small dice
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
- salt and ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves, removed from stem and chopped
- 1/4 C tomato paste
- 2 C red wine
- 3 C beef stock
- 1/2 tsp (a pinch or two) crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 C heavy cream
- 1 lb pappardelle pasta *NOTE: As usual, I couldn't find this, so fettuccine is a good stand-in. The thicker the ribbon, the better.
- 1 1/2 C grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, divided
- 1 C fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, divided
- In a large pot, heat EVOO over medium-high heat, then add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and the fat is rendered, 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan and reserve.
- Add the sirloin and pork to the pot the pancetta was cooked in and brown well, about 10 minutes. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic and cook, stirring, until soft, 4-5 minutes.
- Add salt, pepper, allspice, bay leaves and thyme, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the reserved pancetta back to the pan and stir in the tomato paste. Cook 3-4 minutes to caramelize. Add in the wine and scrape up all the tasty nibbles that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Cook until about half of the liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes.
- Add the beef stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the sauce is thickened and flavorful, about 1 1/12 hours, stirring occasionally, to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- While the sauce is simmering away, bring a large pot of seasoned water up to a boil. Drop the pappardelle pasta into the boiling water and cook al dente, according to package instructions. Stir occasionally to prevent the pasta from sticking together.
- Add the cream to the sauce and simmer for 2 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.
- Once the pasta is done, reserve about a cup of pasta water before draining. Drain the pasta and toss it back into the pot it was cooked in along with some of the reserved water, a cup of cheese and a handful or so of the parsley. Add the pasta sauce, reserving enough to top, and toss well to coat.
- Serve the pasta in shallow bowls, topped with additional sauce and some additional parsley for garnish. Pass the remaining cheese at the table.