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
Watch how to make this recipe. 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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4.4 120
I was totally skeptical this would be "easy" even after I watched the American Classics episode where AB prepared the dish. I proved myself so wrong! <br /><br />Even lacking much culinary skill (and porcini mushrooms - I subbed in 1/3 cup fresh crimini), this sauce turned out well! It was as tasty as it was beautiful (and packed with vegetables - yay!). It even pleased my picky boyfriend. My only compliant is that my eyes were so much bigger than my stomach when it came to suppertime. (Luckily I have some spaghetti squash on reserve, so we'll be finishing this sauce this week!) <br /> item not reviewed by moderator and published
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
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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&amp;#39;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&amp;#39;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&amp;#39;ll just use this &amp; 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
This recipe is pretty good but requires some tweeking. 3 cups of beef broth is way too much, it dilutes the flavor and makes the sauce watery, use 1 to 1 1/2 cups instead. Same with the wine, take it easy, 3/4 cups is about right. I tried adding the evaporated milk, it soured the flavor. These are my taste preferences but I've been working with this recipe for about a year and have tried many different versions based on this recipe. Half beef broth and half chicken broth makes for a little more depth of flavor. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Made it for the first time yesterday. So good. It's a great recipe that takes a lot of tending to. If you have a Sunday where you just want to fiddle about the kitchen and read the paper or that book you been meaning to read this is the recipe for that type of day. No complicated techniques just a lot of steps and ingredients. It is well worth it. Very thick and flavorful. I did not add the pasta into the sauce as I wanted to save the sauce separately if there were leftovers. There weren't. This will work well with double the pasta suggested as well if you serve the sauce over the top as I did. I had no trouble with the evaporated milk curdling as others had experienced. I slowly drizzled the milk into the sauce meat mixture as I stirred it well. No problems. It's an "all afternoon" endeavor but well worth the time spent. I made the recipe exactly as written. Definitely putting this into rotation. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Mr B has missed a bet on this one. Not the recipe, that was great, my guys raved. I couldn't find star anise, will have to order for next go around, and we used campanelle for the pasta. On the show he mentions a chunkier pasta than spaghetti, and this worked very well. No Mr B. misses the second night.He has forgotten to mention that it also reheats like gangbusters! There are only three of us in this home, so the recipe makes plenty for a couple nights! Good eats, twice! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was well worth the time spent making it! I am not a fan of "American spaghetti", but this tasted fantastic. My girlfriend spent 4 months in Italy and said that it tasted just like the pasta dishes she had there. Recipe is simple to follow and in the end you will enjoy a hearty meal. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Alton has become my "go to" for recipes. Any time another chef cooks something I want to try making I look to see if Alton has a similar recipe first. I have not run across a recipe of his that has been less than great. He usually has more ingredients and steps so it takes more time, but that also equals more love into a good home cooked meal our family can sit down to. I try to make at least one of his recipes a month as a special night for the is relaxing for me so I call it my monthly therapy as well ; Thank You Alton! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I usually follow Alton's recipe to the T unlike everything else where i just use the recipe as a base Lets just say the sauce was great up until the tomatoes came into the picture. Completely and utterly "muddified" the flavors.The only thing in you mouth was acidity, sweetness and tomatoe. Before the tomatoes there was complexity and depth (well i did use homemade beef stock Very dissapointed that i spent 5 hours on this...veryyy upset with alton. I will never be making this again..If you want a god base for bolognese just do the whole bottle of cab 2 lb of equal parts lamb pork and beef, basic mirepouix but light on the carrots, a can of tomatoes, a cup of paste...s&amp;p oregano basil marjoram (if you have some black summer truffles around throw some ontop the sauce for garnishserve with a nice priorat like Elios (25, light earthy tones with hints of dark fruit...goes great with the sauce. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This was AMAZING!!! I have been looking for a good meat sauce, and now I have found it! - But I made a lot of changes from the recipe. I made it in 1/2 the time, used 1lb ground chicken and 1/2 pkg. Hillshire farms turkey sausage, no mushrooms, and I used red wine. But it turned out fantastic! I will be making this again soon! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I've made this recipe a few times and it gets better every time. One big key is to know that your home stove is likely not as powerful as what the recipe is written for. The low burner does not have the onions caramelized after 60 minutes and after playing with a higher heat I will move to a slightly larger burner and slightly higher heat next time. The other thing is the tomato steps. I find you need to add about 1/2 a "step" extra on the heat. I.e. med-high for the first part, med-low for the next to get the almost paste consistency shown in the episode. If you take the time to make sure every cooking step looks like the show......even if you have to lengthen cooking'll be rewarded. I've seen a few reviews about muddy flavor. Double check your salt or add a splash of vinegar at the end. It needs a few extra pinches of salt to finish. If you're having problems with mealy meat consistency, make SURE you are getting coarse grind. It’s a big difference. item not reviewed by moderator and published
was really good, but regardless of me trying to separate the condensed milk from the wine as much as possible, it still curdled. and it is super good, but man, it's a TON of work. something good to make once every 6 months or so... but not a weekly dish for sure. item not reviewed by moderator and published
If there are any of you out there that think this is not an amazing sauce then you did something wrong making it. This sauce was unbelievable. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I've made this several times, it always tastes great. However, the milk curdled everytime. I just told my guests that it was the grated parmesan cheese, and nobody complained. I suppose what you don't know still tastes good. I've also made a vegetarian variant. Substitute olive oil for the bacon, vegetable broth for the beef broth, and 1 lb. of roughly chopped mushrooms, white or cremini work best, for the meat. I considered using soy milk in lieu of the evaporated milk, but I drew the line there. I'll go vegetarian, but not vegan! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is by far the best spaghetti my hubby &amp; I have ever eaten! The only problem I had was with the tomato paste - my can of it had sprung a leak and my tube was used up last week with some other yummy concoction. I substituted anchovy paste as I had just the right amount of it left in the tube, and it actually turned out fabulously! I will try again with tomato paste to compare, but we both loved it just as it was. No problems with curdled milk or grainy texture - our meat browned into lovely little crunchy bite-sized morsels that were perfection in suspension : For us it was worth the long wait - most of the time was spent doing exactly that anyway. And yes, there are lots of ingredients and 2 pans to deal with, but it was not difficult at all to contend with those issues. All in all, it was great and we cannot wait to serve it to guests. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The recipe was easy, nothing complicated and the finished product was tasty but I was disappointed that, in spite of following the recipe exactly and carefully monitoring my heat, the milk did leave my sauce with tiny curdles throughout. Again it tasted great but I would NEVER serve it to guests. Next time I will omit the evaporated milk and hope for a much better outcome in terms of appearance. item not reviewed by moderator and published
tastes great! but maybe not six hours great. item not reviewed by moderator and published
It's good, but it's not worth the time. While the flavor was okay, I didn't like the texture of the sauce - mealy, not chunky. There are many other recipes that are much easier and give a better sauce. Sorry, Alton! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Terrific recipe. This dish is quite an undertaking, but it's well worth all of the time and long ingredient list. I give it just four stars because of the misleading difficulty level on the website. I have a lot of cooking experience, but I still would not call this recipe "easy". There are a lot of steps to juggle, and different pans to keep track of at once. As long as you understand what you're getting into (and have set aside an entire afternoon for it, you should be very successful. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Was a great recipe, everyone loved it. I was very thick at the end, and I found myself adding a can of crushed tomatoes about 45 min before the end to thin it just a little. Went well mixed with spaghetti, or mixed in with macaroni for lunches. Still have some in the freezer to try in lasagna later. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Just cooked this dish, hoping for great things after five hours of work and relatively exotic and expensive ingredients. I was disappointed. All the cooking takes away even a hint of brightness to any of the flavors and everything except the meat seems to dissolve into a morass of nothing. Why in the world you need to cook this five hours is beyond me. The word I'd use to describe this dish is "dour". Our standby Jimmy Dean sausage in bottled Prego sauce is a lot better. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Like another reviewer said, it was time consuming, but oh so delicious. Perfect for a Sunday dinner. item not reviewed by moderator and published
It was alot of work, very time consuming, but worth it. My husband and I loved it. Followed the recipe exactly, evap milk went fine, never curdled. Love watching the show. Thanks. item not reviewed by moderator and published
dear courtney, you did not follow the recipe to a t, if you added the bacon as you mentioned you did... that was supposed to be saved for another use...what else did you miss?....maybe that is why you had a negative experience here. :/ item not reviewed by moderator and published
Very good. Yet despite Alton's assurances, the evaporated milk did curdle quite a bit when added. Next time I will be sure to add the milk last, after the meat, wine, and broth. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Use this to make the red meat sauce in conjunction with Giada's lasagna rolls. Pinch of sugar and this recipe is a solid for anytime you need a tomato based sauce. item not reviewed by moderator and published
While this recipe was VERY labor intensive it was worth it in the husband and son said it was the best spaghetti sauce they ever had. My husband doesn't eat red meat so I substituted turkey for the beef and pork and chicken broth for the beef broth. I did use the bacon grease however (he cheated) but will try using extra virgin olive oil the next time. item not reviewed by moderator and published
He says save the bacon for another use...just use the fat rendered. It's in the directions...beginning! item not reviewed by moderator and published
Deeply satisfying and flavorful comfort food! My only quibble is that I probably would classify the recipe as "Intermediate" rather than "Easy" only because of the number of steps. It reminded me of the first time I made Boeuf Bourguignon; the recipe was rated "Difficult" and I thought at the time "none of the steps are particularly difficult; there are just a lot of them." Same here. With two cooking vessels going at the same time, I'd say it rates an "Intermediate" just for the coordination required. Yummy though :D item not reviewed by moderator and published
great, great, great. streets ahead of any other spaghetti recipe. and the episode was awesome too. and @vonnie24 - the bacon isn't used in the recipe. i suggest making a salad and using the bacon for bits! item not reviewed by moderator and published
ALTON... what do you do with the bacon?? read and re-read the recipe and i dont see where it goes. making it now for my boyfriend and i HOPE he like it since i make almost all my meals using foodnetwork! :) item not reviewed by moderator and published
Outstanding! Thank you Alton!! Take your time and do exactly as the recipe say's, no shortcuts. I do like to put my sauce on top of the spaghetti this works best if your cooking to give to someone. Amazing taste! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This sauce is wonderful. I didn't have any problem with curdling, but I did make sure to add the stock BEFORE I added the evaporated milk as other reviewers have suggested. The only mistake I made was thinking that since the sauce was so time consuming I'd double the recipe. About half way through the cooking time I was convinced that I'd never have a pot large enough to hold both parts of the sauce! I let the tomato mixture reduce for about 1 hour longer that prescribed and the finished product came to within about an inch of the top of my Dutch oven. I've got enough sauce to feed my entire neighborhood - plus a little extra. I'm not complaining though - I'll freeze the yummy goodness for other times - many other times. And I'm sure we will enjoy it ever single time. Well worth the effort. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Was just Awesome worth the time to make... item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is a winner! Don't skimp on any steps, especially sweating the veggies and evaporating the diced tomatoes (use San Marzanos for best flavor). Took an hour to reduce the tomatoes! Didn't have a spice bag so I used folded cheesecloth. The flavors from the spices were subtle but very effective. The only change I might make next time is to use spicy sausage instead of the pork or folding in more cheese, just to experiment with a little more flavor complexity. I froze half of the sauce for later, but can't stop thinking about breaking it out now! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This tastes exactly like my Grandmother Barsantti's sauce! item not reviewed by moderator and published
The reviews that complain about the ingredients clearly come from people who are used to getting their sauces from a jar. Traditional meat sauces ALWAYS contain onions, carrots, and celery (called aromatics or mirepoix), milk or cream (Alton uses evaporated milk because it's already been cooked and doesn't curdle as easily as regular milk), and pancetta or bacon. You can make spaghetti sauce without these ingredients, but then again, you can also heat up a can of crushed tomatoes and call it a sauce... This recipe is top notch. I made it while following along with the accompanying episode and it turned out spectacularly well. Very easy to do as well, despite the time commitment. The resulting sauce is very sweet, as spaghetti sauce should be (onions and tomatoes are high in sugar). item not reviewed by moderator and published
I followed the recipe to a T, and cannot figure out how it is so highly rated here. I was disappointed, as was my husband. Given the 6 hours put into it (not hard work, but time consuming), I expected a party in my mouth. It had a flavor, so it wasn?t exactly bland? and some bites seemed like they wanted to be good, but didn?t quite get there. The flavors were not complimentary to one another, and it did not sit well in the stomach afterward presumably due to the bacon and bacon fat. I have no problem putting in precious time for amazing dishes, but I felt robbed of time and energy after trying this. I am going to try diluting and experimenting with the plentiful leftovers tonight in hopes of having a decent lunch tomorrow. I give it two stars only because it is edible; I didn?t spit it out. AB is on probation after this one. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this recipe the other day and I was so happy with the end product. The sauce was absolutely wonderful and it was a huge hit with my partner. He almost begged me to make it again. Yes, the recipe is a bit time consuming, but really, most of the time is just simmer time. I love the aromas in the house while its cooking. I cant wait til a cold winter day, snow falling, and a pot of this remarkable sauce simmering on the stove. Now THAT is comfort food! Don't be intimidated by the time involved in making this..its worth it. Thanks, Alton, for another winner item not reviewed by moderator and published
This sauce is delizioso. My 18 month old grandson loves Alton's recipe. Thanks!Growing up in an Italian family, the gravy started early in the morning and was served at dinner -- 8 to 10 hours of cooking. It wasn't made with ground meat but whatever leftover meat there was (chicken, pork roast, beef). It was cooked for hours to meld the flavors. If you don't like the milk in it, leave it out. As Davi said, ours changed every time it was made. It is a labor of love to cook all day for your family and friends. item not reviewed by moderator and published
The first time I made this recipe for the family, the evaporated milk appeared to curdle. Undeterred, I simply vigorously whisked every now and then, in an effort to keep it from being too far gone. When I finished the sauce though, it had thickened enough that the curdling issue seemed to disappear. Tonight was the second time I made the sauce, deciding to use it in a lasagna instead of Chef Besh's Ragu a la Bolognese (which was also delicious). FANTASTIC! One thing I did differently this time was to use heavy cream instead of evaporated milk. No curdling this time at all, though this may have also been the result of keeping the temperature low as prescribed. Pasta with this sauce does not last long in my house. Like I said - it's definitely worth the 6-8 hours it takes to make this (time depending on how organized/prepared you are). item not reviewed by moderator and published
I can't rate this recipe, because I haven't made it yet. But every traditional Bolognese sauce is made with milk. I've never had the milk curdle on me, but I cook down the milk before I add the wine. I agree with the poster who suggests adding the broth before the milk, not to cut down on the heat, but to dilute the acid in the wine, which is probably what's curdling the milk. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is the best spaghetti recipe I have found. Takes a very long time to complete but as Alton says your patience will be rewarded. I can honestly say he has never let me down with his ease and knowledge of cooking But that is another review.. Thanks Alton Tim item not reviewed by moderator and published
The flavor was fantastic. Well worth all the time (but not really that much work). We ended up doubling the amount of pasta because the sauce was so rich. I couldn't find a star anise so I used 1/2 teaspoon of anise seed instead. I will never go back to my old homemade sauce (which was very famous in my family). item not reviewed by moderator and published
Perhaps you should wait until the end to add the milk. Mine curdled before it was even close to being done. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This sauce was delicious. I can't believe anyone would talk about "jar" sauce. I typically don't like sauces with meat because it tastes like hamburger in tomato sauce. This sauce had such subtle flavors, not too meaty and not too strong of a tomato flavor either. I loved it! Thanks, Alton. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Chalk one up to "never try a new recipe when company is coming." This took HOURS to prepare...the milk curdled despite my anticipation of that and my attempt to cool the sauce first. AND it was way too salty. (I bought the lowest sodium broth I could find....) Two hours before dinner guests were to arrive, I could wait no more and ran to the store to start all over defaulting to my tried and true pasta sauce with tender chunks of beef, made from scratch, done in 90 minutes. I must say though, all was not lost. I kept Alton's batch of sauce and decided that with the addition of fsome resh spinach and a little orzo to manage the salt level, it might make a darned good Italian Wedding Soup. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Just made this sauce yesterday and it was excellent. I had to leave out the anise (because I couldn't find whole pods) and the brandy vinegar (used balsamic instead) But it turned out great. It did take a lot of time, but I was able to cut down about an hour by turning up the heat and stirring almost constantly to prevent burning. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I followed the recipe EXACTLY (the video is on I even had the meat ground as he did. Watching the video reminds you of how the reductions should look before you move on to the next step. This isn't supposed to taste like American meat sauce like you'd get at Olive Garden. This is exquisite...something you'd get at a very fine real Italian restaurant. The true Italian restaurant that would not have spaghetti and meatballs on the menu. Some of the ingredients might sound odd, and some of the spices may seem scary but in the Alton's palate! This man has good taste buds. In the end, this turns out to be a very meaty sauce with tomato in it. Don't expect sauce with meat. If you have ever had a really good bolognese sauce and liked it, then this is your recipe. Thank You Alton!!! This one's a keeper :) item not reviewed by moderator and published
It took all day but the end results were worth it. The whole family loved it and went back for seconds! item not reviewed by moderator and published
The recipe is not traditional to my Italian background, But I will try it anyway. Always good to try new things. Actually most Italians use what's fresh and available which means recipes are never standard or the same. Especially for different parts of the country. That is true here too. White or red barbecue sauce on your bbq? item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have been making spaghetti sauce for ever, coming from an Italian background and I have never heard of bacon in a sauce, and milk? yuck!!! I'll stick with my own recipe.. Italian style... It isn't really a recipe in my kitchen,,,, it is a feel for a good sauce taste... tomatoes, garlic, meatballs, salt, pork, or sausage... olive oil, basil and you have a decent sauce.... you can't miss... item not reviewed by moderator and published
I decided to try this recipe after watching the episode of "Good Eats" on which it was featured, and I'm sorry I did. I found the result to be quite mediocre and definitely inferior to the meat sauce I've been making for years. My biggest complaint about AB is that he seems to focus more on the "science" of cooking and less on the actual flavor of the dish. Simmering the meat for hours in the beef broth/evaporated milk mixture was supposed to add tenderness and flavor, but merely reduced it to the consistency of mush. I also see no point in cooking the tomato mixture separately, other than to create an additional unnecessary step and dirty up an extra pan. A lot of time and trouble for a sauce that turned out to be disappointing, both in flavor and texture. Sorry, but I can't recommend this one! item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is a good dish, if you have the time. Also, to get around the curdling issue, stir in the broth before adding the milk. This allows the meat-onion mixture to cool down just enough. I used a 3.5 quart dutch oven, and a 2 quart buffet casserole (in place of the sautee pan), with no problems. I made the recipe as is. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I am from Finland and had never heard of evaporated milk before. I found it in the asian speciality store though so I decided to make this recipe now that I found that particular ingredient. Sadly it all went belly up when the sauce curdled on me. I think I will try it again some day but instead of using this evaporated milk nonsense I will use regular cooking cream that is common here (comes in little packets), it is IMPOSSIBLE to curdle that. I do not know if you got something like that in america or not but it sure beats this evaporated milk stuff. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I saw this recipe and re-imagined it as a hybrid of other Good Eats recipes. I combined the beef broth from Pressure (S04E02), the chopped beef from A Grind is a Terrible Thing to Waste (S02E08), and the tomato sauce from Pantry Raid II: Seeing Red (S02E11) with this meat sauce recipe. Sear 1.5lb beef shanks in pressure cooker on high. Cut 1.5lb 7-bone chuck steak into 1.5in cubes, pulse 6 times in food processor, and sear in cooker. Return shanks, chuck, and bone to cooker with 4c water and 1oz porcini mushrooms minced in processor. Pressurize and cook for 45m. Meanwhile, drain juice from two 28oz cans of diced tomatoes into small saucepan. Add 1/4c sherry vinegar, 1T worchestershire, 1T oregano, 1T basil, and 1tsp red pepper flake. Reduce by half over low heat. Meanwhile, dice 2 onions, 3 stalks celery, and 2 carrots. Add to roasting pan with 1/4c olive oil, 1T minced garlic, and two heavy pinches of salt. Broil on middle rack for 15-20m stirring every 5m, then add drained tomatoes and broil for another 20m stirring every 5m. Depressurize cooker, remove shanks and bone, and add tomato syrup and broiled tomato mixture. Finish with a shot of bourbon (or brandy), salt and pepper to taste, and simmer uncovered while pasta is cooking. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Followed this recipe to the letter and wow.. so yummy - I wasn't put off by the time involved as I always spend a long time making pasta sauces. Thumbs up! item not reviewed by moderator and published
All in all, cooking this was interesting and educational. I'm a beginner cook, so this was a good way to learn some new cooking methods that I don't normally use. I probably won't make it again, since I didn't love the taste enough to spend another 6 hours making it. The celery was kinda weird, and to me, it seemed like there was far too much white wine in it. I did love the smell and taste of the tomato-based portion of the sauce, and I will definitely make that part of the recipe again. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I am in the middle of the sauce making process right now, and the evaporated milk has curdled, even if Mr. Brown said it was resistant to curdling. There is cottage cheese floating around in the sauce now. Beurk. item not reviewed by moderator and published
You are correct in your assertion regarding the origins of this uniquely American dish. My problem is that the resulting product is not that much different than off the shelf products. Sure, it's considerably more rich and flavorful but the overwhelming acidity and sweetness of all the tomatoes dulls the senses, masking the subtle flavors that lurk underneath. I believe you are much better off with a sauce that accentuates the meat. That still seems pretty American even if it's not classic spaghetti and meat sauce. item not reviewed by moderator and published
There are little restaurants all over greater Chicagoland that serve spaghetti with meat sauce. One might think they'd never sell it, given that spaghetti is something that can be made at home. But oh, it sells out by supper time! This recipe is what the meat sauce tastes like, which by the way, is also served with chicken parm, with eggplant parm, and slipped into the lasagna. I would have never thought of evaporated milk item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this recipe with a few variations because I decided to make it on a whim and didn't have every ingredient. I kept the fundamentals the same, and it turned out just beautifully. I made it for my family and everyone raved, and there wasn't a single bite left at the end of the night. The major switchups were I used all ground beef, carrots instead of celery, and I replaced all of the white wine with a 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar and used this in the deglazing faze. The color was rich and deep, and I attribute this to the balsamic vinegar. As for the dishes, it really only took two pots to make, plus a few prep bowls, which isn't much more than I usually use for spaghetti sauce. And for the cook time, a good spaghetti sauce will always have to simmer for a few hours. This recipe was straight-forward and simple and has a real earthy, almost sweet undertone to its meaty richness. Another home-run for Alton. item not reviewed by moderator and published
One of the things I love about Good Eats is that it is not dogmatic about recipes. Obviously, there is a recipe for anything, but I always found the core philosophy of the show is that if you learn about how food works, you can make anything. This recipe is no different. I followed it to the letter the first time and the result was excellent. A very tasty sauce. That said, my view is that the result is not so much better than other efforts that I could justify 5-6 hours of my time again. Unlike restaurants or tv shows, we all have to make that cost benefit analysis. That said, I think there are some real gems in here. Personally, I have incorporated that diced tomato reduction into my everyday sauces. I think a lot of the depth of flavor comes from that element and I have added it to a lot varieties and it seems to draw praise in all. While I generally won't spend 5 hours making my sauce, this recipe certainly added something to my cooking arsenal. Thanks Alton. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Take a long time to make, but totally worth it! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I had forgotten what real sauce tasted like ,thank you Alton. I have made this three times since it aired and my family thinks I'm a genius in the kitchen. Believe me you can't miss by making this one. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Thanks for a wonderufl, flavourful recipe -- this is worth the time to make, and it made my whole house smell wonderful! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have read all the comments, good and bad............. I have made this dish 3 times and am about do so again today. The reason, everyone I have served it to loved it. The origins of this meat sauce is based on the traditional Bologna Ragu commonly referred to as "Spagetti Bolognese" around the world........ I can't understand what all the fuss is about. Yes it does take time to make but is not labor intensive. One other point, the evaporated milk is added to the meat not the tomato sauce. It adds flavor and tenderness to the meat. I followed the recipe as is since I like the subtle flavors it achieves. Because it was such a hit with our friends first time out, I doubled recipe the second time I made it. Mind you, you will need a larger pot or as an alternative split into two pots when you combine the meat with the tomato sauce. Since I don't add the pasta directly into sauce, this allowed me to split up the remaining sauce into freezer bags for another time when a quick Dinner is required. (Small hint here, use the auto-defrost feature of your microwave,when thawed out (15 mins or so) transfer to pan on low heat while you prepare the pasta) Overall I rate this a 5 star because of: Flavors, Texture and Taste Try it I think you will enjoy it. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made this recipe as is but I think it's weird to put evaporated milk in a tomato sauce. I'm going to leave it out next time. It makes the color of the sauce look strange. I can't imagine a good reason for it anyway item not reviewed by moderator and published
Dare I say that this recipe is something to write home about, Ive just completed the sauce and havnt started the pasta since my guest wont be here for a while. My entire house has smelled like heaven all day long. Not all days accomodate a recipe such as this one, but when you are going to be home all day long , why not? I did manage to cook and prep several other dishes for the weekend, do a barrage of chores and now I think I will go relax for a bit before making the pasta. This sauce is rich, meaty, and has a depth of flavor that I have never even tasted. I did tweek this recipe some. Since I had fresh tomatoes I peeled and diced them instead of using canned. I didnt have marjoram ,and all the basil I have is fresh, so I will add it as I serve it. Thank you Alton. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Best meat sauce I've made. Better than the Heston Blumenthal recipe that Alton borrowed from. item not reviewed by moderator and published
best i have ever tasted item not reviewed by moderator and published
I have used this recipe several times now and it is good but have changed it a little to cut the cooking time and take down the richness level. My Italian grandmother agrees with me that this is a good meat sauce. I have enjoyed all of Altons' recipes that I have tried. Keep up the good work AB!!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
My husband has been waiting for me to make this recipe for the last month. Since it was his birthday, I decided to go ahead and give it a shot today. I used a 6 qt dutch oven (plenty of room) and a 5 qt saute pan and made it verbatim. For the most part, it was relatively easy to do and follow once you finished all the prep work. Just a lot of stirring, waiting, and watching. It really did take me 6 hours to make! The flavors were very good and it is definitely a great receipe. However, given that it took my whole day to make it, I don't think I will make it again anytime soon or ever again. I am glad we did it though. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I am very new to this whole cooking big meals and this was simple to make, and the hours of cooking really paid off. I made for my wife and our grandparents and it was a huge hit. Good job Alton and thanks! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I love Alton Brown and his recipes, but this one didn't seem to be worth the hours of preparation. My fiance loved the spaghetti but I still feel that the cost of the meal and the amount of time it took me to make did not help the medicine go down. Still I gave it a try, and it exposed me to new seasonings and methods of cooking. item not reviewed by moderator and published
my friends really enjoyed this and wanted the family didn't care for this as much and didn't want me to make it again......if you are looking for something different..than this would be it.. I prefer..skyline chilli...takes 5 hours to make also but not as many pots and pans and a lot less mess. and simpler to make...and taste great. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Keep in mind that Alton never said this is an authentic Italian gravy. In fact, at the beginning of the show he tells us clearly that the noodle shall never meet the meat sauces in Italy. --- I admit that I was a bit skeptical, but this is one of the best sauces I have had the pleasure of diving into. I thought it a bit daunting at first, but if you get all of your prep done first then begin your cooking procedures, it's a real easy recipe. --- I have had the pleasure of tasting some of the best authentic Italian gravies available. This one wins the competition of best in show for alternative sauces. I strongly suggest that you try this recipe with an open mind and make it in the spirit for which it is meant- an alternative recipe for pasta and not a replacement or rival for traditional Italian meat gravy. ****Please refrain from giving stars to a recipe for which you have not tried. It gives a false reading to the recipe. Just because you do not agree or think you will not enjoy something, does not translate into it being your right to falsify the ratings for the rest of people interested in making a recipe.**** item not reviewed by moderator and published
Haven't tried this yet, but my first instinct was crock pot too! Will try this weekend. Does anyone else have any doubts about the cloves and anise? I don't really picture that flavor profile in spag sauce - may leave them out. item not reviewed by moderator and published
i made this recipie faithfully.. as a matter of fact i printed it and saved it on my DVR and watched it twice while making it. the flavor was off. however, its likely my fault as i doubled the recipie and i didnt have a 4qt saucepan. i'm gonna try it again verbatim and see what happens. btw. anyone that comments on this sauce and says that celery or any of the other ingredients "dont go in sauce" are just silly. cooking is a combination of flavors. if you understand what things are and how they work, you understand what ketchup does in the sauce and why you reduce the tomatoes. if you havent made this recipie, you cant review it, you can only criticize. item not reviewed by moderator and published
After dinner i made this recipe in the crock pot. Browning everything in it's turn and adding it to the crock pot. Cooked it on high for 3 hours. Turned the pot off, went to bed and turned the pot on low while I was at work. When I came home I turned the pot on high and took the lid off, made the pasta and served - it was a smash hit! I did have to leave out the mushrooms (allergy). item not reviewed by moderator and published
I loved this sauce so much that I had to write a review about it. I've never made any sort of pasta sauce from scratch, so I was a little nervous, but even my boyfriend who almost never eats spaghetti LOVED it. It was time consuming, but not so high maintenance that I couldn't do other things while it cooked. I took a hint from another reviewer and used a coffee filter instead of the little bag, but other than that everything worked just as it should have. I will definitley make this recipe again and would recommend it to anyone! Alton did an amazing job! item not reviewed by moderator and published
My husband is a huge fan of spaghetti and I wanted to make him something for his birthday that was different and special. Alton's recipe fit the bill. We all loved the outstanding layers of flavor that were obtained from the carmellization, reduction and long simmering. There are so many complex flavors that blend well together without anyone flavor dominating the sauce. I made the meat portion of the recipe the night before and finished the rest of the sauce the next day. Yes, the sauce takes a long time to make but it didn't seem that bad to me since I broke it up over two days. Like other reviewers I was very leery of adding ketchup to the recipe but it worked perfectly. Thanks, Alton, for a fun, flavorful, special spaghetti recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Okay I tried this yesterday after watching it on tv the other day. I followed the recipe resisting temptations to add or change things the first time around. The only things different were: couldnt find those cute little spice holders, so I wrap the spices in cheese cloth and tied the ends with string. also I doubled the recipe so I couldnt use the same pans, had to use my big stock pots. and I had thin spagetti, so I added 1 1/2 lbs spagetti to the double recipe. Could have used a little more I think I thought the sauce was great and well worth the effort. I just cleaned house during the simmer times. I did think the sauce was a little thin and would use less broth next time ( yes I said next time because there will be one) but that is something that happens sometimes when you double recipes they dont always come out quite right. The one thing I wish I would have donem didnt think about it till I was waiting on the water to boil for the pasta, was to have made my own pasta. I think that would have put it over the top. I know what my homemade spagetti nooldes do to regular sauce. but I didnt think of it soon enough Thanks for a great recipe....................walla2butterfly item not reviewed by moderator and published
I made the mistake of starting this recipe before realizing the amount of cook time involved, but nonetheless I made the effort and did it. I don't profess to have the patience or talent of cooking, but I thought I would give this one a go. I'm so glad I did because I think with this turning out to be the best Spaghetti sauce I have ever tasted, I now want to cook more and more!! The smells that permiated the house while cooking were amazing! When it came time to combine the tomato and the meat/broth, I found myself not wanting to wash the meat/broth pan because the smells were heavenly! Anyone wanting to try something a bit different from traditional, this is the sauce to invest some time in. BRAVO!!! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I haven't made this recipe yet but we are going to a couples party this weekend and we plan to give it a try --- sounds incredible ! Eric (5/26) ... I know the recipe says 8 qt dutch oven, but this Lodge Pro-Logic Pre-Seasoned 7qt pot looks to be the identical shape (the same cast), size, and coloration as the pot he used on the show. By coloration what I mean is that if you use cast iron you know that it doesn't look brand new for ever -- his pot looked seasoned but it also looked like it had never been used prior to the show .... anyways, here is the link ... note that the the Pro-Logic line is different than the Logic line which is also pre-seasoned ...;idProduct=3989 item not reviewed by moderator and published
Comments like "Milk, white wine and CELERY?!?!? have NOOOOOO business in sauce" are just completely incompetent. Just cause you don't understand the basis for french cooking doesn't mean you should knock it. For the people that complain about it taking to long, some sauces take a long time. Sure you could make something ALMOST as good quickly, but that isn't the point. Pure incompetence in the comments here. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Ive stuck by you through many a recipe my friend but you lost me here. My dear North Jersey Mother would roll in her grave if I ever served this to my family. Milk, white wine and CELERY?!?!? have NOOOOOO business in sauce! You're from the south, stick to biscuits &amp; gravy, fried chicken, BBQ, and leave the pizza, pasta, and cheese steaks to those of us who know. item not reviewed by moderator and published
In this as with other AB recipes, the measurements specified are for KOSHER salt. Because the kosher crystals are larger and more irregular, the same volumetric amount of table salt ends up being significantly more salt than had you used kosher. That could explain the saltiness that some of the other reviewers are experiencing. I tried the recipe as written, with low sodium beef broth and found it to be fine. Thanks, AB, for another great recipe. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I just made this recipe verbatim. The flavor was great and I think it was worth the effort to learn from. To make this as a meal during the week is really not practical and it is clear no one was promoting this as a quick meal. It does however teach some good points about getting good carmilization at various times during the cooking to obtain the most flavors possible. I will take this recipe and adapt it towards a 1 hour version that will get much move visibility in our family. Perhaps rolling out the 5 hour ELP for a holiday weekend. As usual, Alton created another winning meal.. Thanks Alton. -Eric. P.S. If anyone can find the exact 8-quart dutch oven he used, please chime in with your review and the info. item not reviewed by moderator and published
This is better than any sauce I ever had. It is definitely not for the lazy or 30 minute meal fans. But, like any good comfort food, it is worth the time and effort. The great thing about Alton is his attention to detail. And all the details that go into this recipe are what makes it great. Thanks for another great recipe! item not reviewed by moderator and published
I watched the episode, read the reviews, and was still on the fench wether I should try this or not. It was one great meat sauce! My husband said that it reminded him of flavors from Europe (where he travels often). I am out of star anise and had to use anise seed instead and I utilized a coffee filter tied instead of a spice bag, but the sauce turned out wonderful. I will spend another afternoon over the stove to have this great meal. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I worked all day on this sauce ... and I have to say that it is the best damn sauce I have ever had! I was able to use my 5.5 quart Dutch Oven and my 3 quart saute pan. I was worried that the sauce would not fit, but it did. I didnt put the spaghetti in the sauce because I wanted to freeze the sauce. I did saute the spaghetti and sauce together with the cheese and it was wonderful! I did add a little feta cheese, just because I enjoy that texture and flavor of the cheese. For those that blast this... dont knock it till you try it! Good Job AB!!! another great recipe! The only draw back is the 5+ hours that it takes to make. But the reward is well worth the effort! 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
It's not supposed to be condensed milk. You are supposed to use evaporated milk. There is a massive difference. He even says, explicitly in the video, "Do not - I repeat - DO NOT use sweetened, condensed will curdle." I've made this 100 times, and it never curdles because I use evaporated milk. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Sorry to say, but you did do something wrong then. I've never had it curdle, and I've made it a bunch of times. item not reviewed by moderator and published
I used powdered dry milk instead of evaporated can milk. They add a lot of weird stuff to evaporated milk these days. Try powdered instead. item not reviewed by moderator and published
Then you clearly know nothing of bolognese. It's supposed to be creamy, almost paste-like. If you properly season and build the layers, it's an incredibly condensed mass of flavor. item not reviewed by moderator and published
So when Italian-trained chefs constantly use bacon to render fat for sweating the vegetables, they don't know what they are doing? Even Mario Batali does that. Italian style is meat with a creamy texture, not tomatoe sauce with chunks. item not reviewed by moderator and published

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