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Big Boy Bolognese with Pappardelle


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 1/4 pound pancetta, cut into small dice or ground

  • 1 pound ground sirloin

  • 1 pound ground pork

  • 1 onion, cut into small dice

  • 1 carrot, cut into small dice

  • 2 celery stalks, cut into small dice

  • 3 -4 cloves garlic, minced or grated

  • Salt and black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (eyeball it)

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves (a couple of sprigs), chopped

  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram or oregano leaves (1/3 palmfu)

  • 1/4 cup tomato paste

  • 2 cups dry white wine

  • 3 cups beef stock

  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 cup whole milk or cream

  • 1 pound pappardelle or fettuccine pasta

  • A few handfuls of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus more to pass at the table

  • 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley (a couple handfuls), chopped


In a large pot, heat the EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and the fat is rendered, 3-4 minutes. Add the sirloin and pork to the pot and brown for 12-15 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, 8-10 minutes more. Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, bay leaves, thyme, marjoram or oregano. Stir in the tomato paste for a minute or so, then add the wine and scrape up all the drippings. Reduce the wine by half, 2-3 minutes, then stir in stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer and thicken the sauce for 1-1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Add the milk or cream and simmer while the water for the pasta comes to a boil and the pasta cooks. When you're ready to serve, bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, then cook the pasta to al dente. Heads up: just before draining reserve 1 cup of starchy cooking water. Drain the pasta and toss it back into the pot it was cooked in, along with the reserved cooking water, about a cup of grated cheese and a couple of handfuls of chopped parsley. Add half the pasta sauce and toss well to coat. Serve the pasta in shallow bowls, topped with additional sauce. Pass the remaining cheese at the table.