Happy New Year's! I hope 2008 is a good one for all.
Yesterday I made a slow cooking meat ragu to go with pasta for a dinner party last night. A dinner party is my favorite way to herald in another year. Nothing beats good food and good company.
The meat sauce turned out great. Three hours of cooking turns simple, fairly inexpensive ingredients into a rich, luxurious sauce. I had to go to three stores to find pancetta. Kroger over by Home Depot off of 15-501 had it. You can substitute bacon for pancetta in a pinch. The pancetta and proscuitto are the most expensive ingredients. While they do add a lot of flavor, they could be omitted or replaced with bacon.
I adapted the recipe from Italian: Slow and Savory. I doubled the batch in order to feed a crowd. I think this would easily serve 10.
6 T butter
6 T olive oil
2 stalks of celery chopped
2 carrots chopped
2 onions chopped
2 cloves of garlic minced
4 oz dried porcini rehydrated in 1 c water and chopped
1 lb beef chuck or brisket chopped
1 lb pork shoulder chopped
4 oz pancetta or bacon
4 oz proscuitto
4 T tomato paste diluted in a bit of water
1/2 c. tomato puree
2 c. red wine
2 c. beef stock
2 c. milk
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the veggies and garlic in the olive oil and butter until they are golden, about 10 minutes. Add the meats and cook until they are no longer pink, about 15 minutes. Add tomato paste, tomato puree and wine. Cook about 15 minutes until the wine is mostly absorbed. Add milk and stock. Simmer on low heat for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Stir occasionally and add more stock if needed. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve over pasta and garnish the sauce w/ a pat of butter and some grated Parmesan cheese.