Meat Sauce and Spaghetti

Total Time:
5 hr 45 min
45 min
5 hr

6 to 8 servings

  • Meat sauce:
  • 6 ounces thick sliced bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 whole star anise pod
  • 3 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, 3 minced and 2 sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces coarsely ground beef chuck
  • 8 ounces coarsely ground pork butt
  • 1 1/4 cups white wine, divided
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 -ounce dried porcini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • Pasta:
  • 1 gallon water
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound dry spaghetti
For the meat sauce:

Place an 8-quart Dutch oven over low heat and add the bacon. Cook slowly until the bacon is crispy and has rendered its fat, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the bacon from the pan for another use. Add the onion, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Place the clove and star anise into a small spice bag, add to the Dutch oven and stir to combine. Cook, uncovered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions caramelize, 45 to 60 minutes. Add the celery and the 3 cloves of minced garlic to the pan and continue to cook over low heat until the celery is semi-translucent, approximately 30 minutes. Remove the spice bag from the pot.

Meanwhile, place a wide 4-quart saute pan, over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and once it shimmers, add the beef chuck and the pork butt and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is well browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the meat to a colander to drain. Return the pan to high heat, add 1/2 cup of the wine and deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Transfer these bits and any remaining wine to the Dutch oven along with the meat.

Add another 1/2 cup of the wine, evaporated milk, beef broth, and mushrooms to the Dutch oven and stir to combine. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 hours.

Once the sauce has been cooking for 1 1/2 hours, place the 4-quart saute pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once it shimmers, add the 2 cloves of sliced garlic and cook for 30 to 45 seconds or until fragrant. Do not allow the garlic to brown. Add the tomatoes, oregano, basil, and marjoram and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, approximately 30 minutes. Add the remaining 1/4 cup wine, tomato paste, ketchup, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine. Decrease the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Increase the heat to medium high; add the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer the tomato mixture to the meat mixture and stir to combine. Simmer the sauce, uncovered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, while preparing the pasta.

For the pasta:

Bring the water and salt to a boil over high heat. Carefully add the pasta, stirring quickly to separate. Cover and return to a boil, being careful that the water does not boil over. Once boiling again, uncover and continue to cook until slightly less than al dente, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain in a colander.

Add the pasta to the meat sauce and cook, over low heat, for another 2 to 3 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Add the Parmesan cheese and toss to combine. Transfer pasta and sauce to a serving bowl or individual bowls and serve.

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Pairs Well With

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4.3 120
Absolutely delicious! This is a new staple for Sunday Night Dinner! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Spot on perfect . This is the best bolognese recipe I have ever tried. It's not difficult but you do need a dutch oven to control the temperature. Anything else will probably cause you to scorch the ingredients. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Really? This is not a traditional meat sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup? anise??? YIKES...not going there at all... item not reviewed by moderator and published
Amazing recipe if you take the time to follow it correctly. Don't skimp on ingredients either, well worth the time and money. And if only cooking for two, you can freeze and save for lasagna. My wife made the best lasagna I have ever had with this sauce. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I will give it 5 stars. It is a very complex taste. You have to make sure you use a wine you like the taste of and use good dry herbs. I get mine from online. Grocery store spices are weak and add no flavor to a dish like this. Also i used powdered milk instead of evaporated and dried oyster mushrooms since that is what I had on hand. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I was looking for an "all-day sauce" for a cold rainy day, and I enjoyed the slow process of this recipe. But I didn't feel like the final product was worth the time. I pretty much followed it to the letter, just leaving out the star anise because I didn't have it. It was an expensive, time-consuming process that didn't live up to all that effort or money, imo. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this verbatim, but I cut about a cup of the beef broth out, adding a little more as needed along the way. It's an involved recipelsomething to do every 30 mins or so. My batch cooked for just shy of 6 hours. The flavor was great, but mild. I like a little kick, some hot Italian sausage would be a nice addition. The meat was just so tender, you don't really even need teeth! There is a nice overall mouth feel from the fat in the pork and the olive keeps the pasta nice and separated. Definitely a keeper, and could be a great base for other sauces and variations. I see a lot of potential variations in my future. I do wonder if the length of the first few steps (bacon/onions could be cut a bit. I keep bacon fat in the freezer, next time I'll just use this & try to cut the hour+ on the onions/spice bag down a bit (leaving the spice bag in a little longer in the later steps. AB Strikes again! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This recipe is fantastic, and as an AB fan, I know he often gives leeway to be innovative with his recipes. I stuck to his recipe; however, I left out the cloves and mushrooms because I didn't have them, and I substituted red wine and white wine vinegar for the white wine and sherry vinegar for the same reasons. The recipe still was probably the best meat sauce I have ever eaten, and is totally worth the 5-6 hours. My apartment smells fantastic still a day later and I will be eating this for the next several days. Love ya AB! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I'm with Jonesattack, I changed a few things, mostly ingredients I left things out or didn't have on hand and gave it 5 stars. Great basic meat sauce recipe and it would stand well on its own, as is. I left out the bacon only because I've cut back on that meat. I didn't have the anise or mushrooms on hand so they were left behind. I used a courgette that was going south and those worked great. I only used ground beef; I didn't have ground pork. You could try lamb with the ground beef as lamb stands up well cooked for long periods of time. I like the taste and I will continue to use this recipe. I wouldn't use milk as it tends to curdle and this is why the chef chose evaporated milk. 2% or skim "Blue John" is totally not suited for much except to drink and I question even that! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I am rating this five stars only because I don't want to be one of those people that gives a recipe a bad rating and then goes on to say they changed 50 things..that would be lame. I tried to make a healthier version of this, using olive oil instead of bacon fat and ground turkey instead of the beef and pork. I really should have known better..the turkey doesn't benefit from cooking this long at all, really, plus this method of cooking the tomatoes make them very sweet and ketchupy..with the big flavors of pork and beef it might work, but with turkey it overwhelms. If you are looking for some lean meat sauce I would try something else, or make this recipe as written. Also..I can't believe how many people complain about the milk curdling when it clearly says to use evaporated milk. Don't you think there was a reason for that? item not reviewed by moderator and published
Did you even try this? Because it would be the height of arrogance and rudeness for you to assign a negative rating to a recipe based on your own lofty, preconceived notions. item not reviewed by moderator and published
You're correct in one thing, it's not a traditional Bolognese. It is though a Traditional American Italian Meat Sauce. item not reviewed by moderator and published

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