Summary: This ragu recipe is from one of Mario Batali's cookbooks and is delicious. We like to pair it with pappardelle (although he serves it with potato "candies").
Notes from Em and Mario: This recipe makes about 5 cups of ragu. It can be refrigerated for up to 2 days; it can also be frozen for up to 3 month. As you see, MB says to have the pancetta or bacon run through the butcher's grinder. If you have a meat grinding attachment for your stand mixer, you could also use that. This is a relatively important step because due to the fat in and curing of pancetta, it's actually fairly difficult to finely chop. Slab bacon would be easier. In any case, do try to break it down so that the fat incorporates and you don't have huge strings of meat/fat slogging around in your sauce.
Yield: 5 cups of ragu
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 4 ribs celery, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 pound ground beef (MB calls for veal but I don't cook/eat veal so sub beef)
- 1 pound ground pork
- 4 ounces pancetta or slab bacon, run through the medium holes of the butcher's grinder
- 6 ounces can tomato paste
- 1 cup whole milk (I used 2%)
- 1 cup dry white wine (I used Gavi, an Ital white)
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¾ pound fresh (or dry) pappardelle, or your preferred pasta; this amount of pasta will serve 2-3 people, 2 quite generously!
In a 6- to 8- quart heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic, and cook until the veggies are translucent but not browned, about 5 minutes.
Add the meats, increase the heat to high and brown the meat, stirring frequently. Add the tomato paste, milk, wine, and thyme and bring just to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 to 1½ hours.
Season the ragu with salt and pepper; remove from the heat and let cool, or serve.