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Playing Big Boy Bolognese with Pappardelle


  • 2 tablespoons EVOO Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, cut into small dice or ground
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 onion, cut into small dice
  • 1 carrot, cut into small dice
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into small dice
  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, eyeball it
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves, a couple of sprigs, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram or oregano leaves, 1/3 palmful
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup whole milk or cream
  • 1 pound pappardelle or fettuccine pasta
  • A few handfuls Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more to pass at table
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, a couple of handfuls, chopped


Serves: 4-6


In a large pot, heat EVOO over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and the fat is rendered, 3-4 minutes. Add the sirloin and pork to the pot and brown 12-15 minutes. Add the onion, carrots, celery, garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, 8-10 minutes more.

Add salt, pepper, nutmeg, bay leaves, thyme, marjoram or oregano, stir in the tomato paste for a minute or so then add wine and scrape up all the drippings. Reduce wine by half, 2-3 minutes then stir in stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and thicken sauce 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add milk or cream and simmer while water comes to boil and the pasta cooks.

When you're ready to serve, bring large pot of water to a boil, salt water and cook pasta to al dente. Heads up: just before draining reserve 1 cup of starchy cooking water.

Drain the pasta and toss it back into the pot it was cooked in, along with the reserved cooking water, about a cup of grated cheese and a couple of handfuls of chopped parsley. Add half the pasta sauce and toss well to coat.

Serve the pasta in shallow bowls, topped with additional sauce. Pass the remaining cheese at the table.