Meat Sauce (Ragù di Carne)
This Italian sauce requires very gentle simmering to produce a finely textured, sweet meat sauce that’s rich and delicious. You can use the sauce in baked pasta dishes, such as lasagna, or tossed with fresh fettuccine. This sauce stores well, frozen in small containers, for up to 3 weeks.
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hours
Yield: 8 servings
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1 large red onion, peeled and chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 medium carrot, chopped
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
3⁄4 pound ground pork
3⁄4 pound ground beef
4 thin slices of pancetta or bacon, minced
4 thin slices of prosciutto, minced
2 cups dry red wine
28-ounce can whole Italian tomatoes, undrained
2 cups water
Salt to taste
1⁄2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of allspice
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of cloves
Pinch of cinnamon
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
Add the pork, beef, pancetta or bacon, and prosciutto and cook, stirring frequently, for another 10 minutes.
Add the wine and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and water and simmer, covered, for 50 minutes.
Season with the salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and spices and then stir. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 90 more minutes, until the sauce is thick and flavorful.
Check the sauce during cooking. If it thickens too quickly, add a little bit of water (about 1⁄2 cup at a time) and continue cooking. Adjust seasoning with salt, if necessary.