My brother, Dwayne, prepared this meal for a family gathering at my Mom’s house tonight. It was a big hit. The “girls” loved it. (The “girls” are our cousins Vicky from St. Louis, and Betty from San Francisco.) This is just as he wrote it for me.
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 small onion chopped fine
1 carrot chopped fine
1 stalk celery chopped fine
2 pounds ground chuck
4 oz. pancetta or prosciutto, diced
2 cups whole milk
2 cups dry red wine
2 cans crushed tomatoes (28 ounces)
2 pound fettuccine dried
2 tsp. salt
2 bay leaves
Parmesan cheese freshly grated
1. Heat oil and butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, pancetta (or prosciutto) and celery and sauté until softened but not browned, about 10 minutes. Add ground meat and salt; crumble meat into tiny pieces with edge of wooden spoon. Cook, continuing to crumble meat, just until it loses its raw color but has not yet browned, about 5 minutes.
2. Add milk and bring to a simmer; continue to simmer uncovered until milk evaporates and only clear fat remains, about 30 minutes. Add wine and bring to a simmer; continue to simmer uncovered until wine mostly evaporates, about 30 minutes longer. Add bay leaves and tomatoes and their juice and bring to a low boil. Reduce heat to low so that sauce simmers very slowly, uncovered, until most of liquid has evaporated and sauce is very thick, about 5-6 hours. Adjust seasonings with extra salt to taste. Keep sauce warm.
3. Cook 2 lbs. pasta to al dente, drain (don’t drain too thoroughly- a little moisture left is good). Toss with sauce and serve with Parmesan cheese.
Serves 8 generously. Sauce is as good or better reheated the next day. Also freezes well. If halving, cut simmer times for milk and wine to about 15 min. Simmer time for last step will only take about 3 hours.
This recipe has more tomatoes that the traditional dish but I like it nonetheless. You can read more about the history of this sauce here.