Rigatoni Bolognese

by Hilary Gauntt on February 5, 2016

It’s just Bolognese weather. I went in search of a recipe that would have a “cooked for days” flavor that I could make in one lazy rainy afternoon. Nailed it with the first experiment! This is from a funny, irreverent website called Spice or Die, and Angela admits she seems to collect bolognese recipes like a bad habit. It has a few odd steps like baking the sauce in the oven and simmering it with Parmesan rinds that help to make it special. I loved the rich meaty flavor and knew it was a keeper when my husband asked after a second helping ‘Is there enough of this sauce left for another dinner?”

1 1/2 lbs. of ground beef

1 small onion

3 cloves of garlic

1/2 carrot

1 stalk of celery

1/8 tsp. black pepper

1 pinch of crushed red pepper

1 pinch of white pepper

1 pinch of oregano (dried is fine)

1 tsp. salt

1 cup of beef stock

1 large can of crushed tomatoes with basil (or 1 jar of marinara -anything but Prego or Ragu)

Parmesan rinds (optional)

1 Tbs. butter

1 lb. of rigatoni

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Chuck the celery, onion, and garlic into your food processor and pulse about 15-20 times for a small mince. If you don’t have a processor, mince your veggies. Set aside.

Brown the beef in a dutch oven (or a large skillet if you don’t have one), stirring to break up any large chunks of meat. When beef is fully cooked, add veggies to the pot and cook until wilted and the garlic starts to smell fragrant. Pour in beef stock and add the three kinds of pepper, salt and pinch of oregano. Add the tomatoes to the pot and stir. If you have any leftover rinds saved from Parmesan cheese that you have used up, plunk these into the mix-they’ll add a unique depth of flavor to your sauce that you can’t get anywhere else. If you don’t have rinds you can lob off a thumb-size hunk of cheese and throw it in if you’re feeling extravagant.

Put a lid on the pot (or foil the top-if you don’t have a dutch oven, pour mixture into a casserole dish and cover with foil.) Put the pot in the oven and leave to bake for 45 minutes. If you used a skillet in the earlier steps, set it aside for later.

About 20 minutes before the sauce is finished, put a pot of heavily salted water on the stove to boil. When the water comes to a boil, add your rigatoni and cook until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water before draining the pasta. Your sauce will probably need to come out of the oven before your pasta is finished -simply set it aside. Your sauce knows how to play nice and wait for your pasta to finish it’s thing up.

Remove your sauce from the oven, and taste-check for salt and pepper. Fish out the rinds and discard. When your pasta is cooked and drained, add it to a skillet along with 3/4 of your sauce and the tablespoon of butter. Turn heat to medium-low and gently stir to coat all the of the pasta with the sauce. If the sauce needs a little bit of coaxing, dribble a bit of pasta water in to the pan to thin the bolognese and and allow the sauce to adhere to the rigatoni.

Serve immediately with the additional sauce, Parmesan shavings and copious amounts of vino. Serves 4-6.


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