Autumn, rainy days, and a beautiful Harvest Moon. Add a delicious decadent, yet ever so delicate, and very simple dinner of classic bolognese and it might just be the perfect day.
Oh! Did I mention, pair with a scrumptious favorite French wine? Yep, do that and it is indeed a perfect fall day in my book.
What we’re making today in the kitchen is a classic Italian dish that often is misunderstood as to which type of pasta to pair the classic ragu with. Often called Spaghetti Bolognese, the real deal is made with Tagliatelle, or in my case today, Pappardelle. Why?
Well, that is why I definitely encourage you to tune in to today’s episode.
I will share with you what constitutes a ragu, and what the proportions of the three classic vegetables to prepare your mirepoix, and then I will talk about the perennial favorite red wine from Provence, Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Yep, we may be making an Italian dish, but French components abound!
Let’s get to the episode shall we? I am hungry and I have a feeling after watching this episode, whether you are at this moment, you will be by the episode’s end. ☺️
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Links shared during the episode:
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- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 oz pancetta use bacon as an alternative
- 1 medium sweet onion
- 2 medium carrot
- 1 stalks celery
- 4 ounces portobello mushrooms (or other flat mushrooms), about 2 portobello mushrooms
- 2 leaves bay
- 1 lb ground lamb (meat of choice)
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes (canned)
- 3/4 cup red wine the same wine you will pair with your dish
- 3/4 cup beef stock
- fresh nutmeg (or from your spice rack)
- 3/4 cup heavy cream/half-and-half
- 8 oz Pappardelle pasta, tagliatelle (your preference), enough for four servings
- 4 Tbsp freshly grated parmigiana reggiano
- Using a Le Creuset dutch oven or heavy-bottomed 10" skillet (cast-iron is a great choice), melt the butter over medium heat and then add the diced/cubed pancetta. Let the pancetta cook until light brown or slightly crispy – about 5-7 minutes (not entirely done, but close). As the pancetta is cooking, chop up your mirepoix (onion, celery, carrots), finely diced as well as your garlic along with large chopped pieces of the mushrooms. Add all of them to the pancetta and follow with tucking in the bay leaves. Leave this to cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring throughout.
- Increase the heat to medium to high and add the beef or lamb, breaking it up into smaller pieces. Once the pieces are broken up, step away from the stove and let it brown for about 4 minutes. Checking on it after four minutes, stir as necessary so that all sides of the meat brown, and then cook until the meat is cooked and brown. Stir as necessary.
- Add the tomatoes, red wine, stock and freshly grated nutmeg (or from your spice rack) as well as salt and pepper for seasoning. Bring this to a boil, then turn the heat down immediately following reaching a boil (just barely seeing bubbles). Turning to medium-low, simmer with a lid placed slightly askew (so not entirely closed as you want some of the heat and steam to escape to ensure a slow cook to keep the meat as tender as possible and absorb all of the wonderful flavors in the sauce. Cook like this for about 60 minutes to 90 minutes. You will need to keep checking it (I begin checking at about 40 minutes), as you don't want the pan to become dry. You want to retain the liquid to some degree even when finished, but the liquid will become much less and a little bit thicker.
- Just before you add the cream (next step), bring a large pot of water to boil. Season generously with salt. Boil your preferred pasta for the designated amount of time and ensure it is al dente. (Note: choose the pasta of your choice. I chose Pappardelle pasta, but you can use spaghetti, tagliatelle or anything else you have in the pantry that you prefer.)
- Now add the heavy cream or half-and-half, slowly. Stirring to incorporate. It will at first cool down the dish, but once the cream heats up, it will begin becoming the sauce you will love. Cook for about 20 minutes. Check on the seasoning. Add a dash of salt and pepper to taste.
- Two options for serving with pasta: (1) add the pasta to the Dutch Oven or cast iron skillet and top with the sauce; (2) place the pasta on each dish and place a serving amount of sauce on top of the pasta.
- Whichever option you choose for plating, don't forget to finish with freshly grated Parmigiana Reggiano. Pair with a full-body glass of red wine that has been opened and left to breathe for about 20 minutes or so. I paired the one seen in the pic with a glass of Châteauneuf-du-Pape picked up at Trader Joe's. Enjoy!