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Spaghetti with Bacon & Beef Sauce


  • 2 tablespoons EVOO, plus more for drizzling

  • 4 ounces smoky bacon, chopped

  • 1 pound ground sirloin

  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 2 fresh bay leaves

  • 1 fresh red Fresno chile, finely chopped

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • Pinch of ground cloves

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1/2 cup dry red wine

  • 1 cup beef stock

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1 (15-ounce) can Italian crushed tomatoes

  • 1 pound spaghetti

  • Grated pecorino cheese, for serving

  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish


In a large Dutch oven, heat a drizzle of EVOO over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until browned. Transfer the bacon to a plate and pour out the fat. Add 2 tablespoons EVOO (2 turns of the pan) to the pan. Pat the beef dry then add it and cook, breaking it into crumbles as it browns. Add the garlic, bay leaves, chile, onion, cloves, a little salt, and lots of pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine. Stir in the beef stock, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, and bacon. Simmer until thickened.

Make-ahead: Cool and refrigerate.

Night of: Return the sauce to room temp before reheating gently over medium heat while you cook the pasta. Remove the bay leaves from the sauce before you add the pasta.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water and cook the pasta to al dente. Ladle out about a cup of the starchy cooking water. Drain the pasta and add to the sauce, tossing with tongs 1 or 2 minutes for the flavors to absorb. Add some of the starchy water if the sauce is too thick.

Serve the pasta topped with cheese and parsley.