This pasta dish takes forever to make, but it’s totally worth it. When I was younger, I use to buy spaghetti sauce in a can from the supermarket. I’d dress it up with fresh garlic, mushrooms, and onions, and thought I did a pretty good job of putting my own stamp on it.
Then I had fresh pasta with a ragu at a restaurant and was like, “Dude, this is bananas!” It was simple, but on a whole other level completely removed from my dressed-up canned sauce. It’s well worth the effort and this recipe will feed a bunch of people.
Incidentally, I recommend canned tomatoes if tomatoes are not in season where you’re at. Hot house tomatoes are often lackluster, unfortunately.
- 4 slices of thick-cut bacon
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 stalk celery, finely diced
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 10 oz of ground beef (or veal)
- 5 oz of ground pork
- 5 oz of Italian sausage, not in casing
- 28 oz of canned tomatoes (about 2 regular cans or 1 big can)
- Pinch of cinnamon
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp salt (have more on hand to season to taste)
- 1¼ whole milk
- Cut the bacon into thin slices (3 mm or so) and saute over medium-high heat in a medium-large sauce pan with the butter until bacon is caramelized and crispy. Add onions, carrot, and celery. Saute until soft and onion is translucent.
- Add meats to the pan. Break up the ground meat with a spoon. Occasionally stir to make sure meat browns thoroughly. If there is too much fat in the pan (if there's more than ¼ of it pooling on the bottom of the pan), spoon some out. But leave a good amount of fat in there (flavor!).
- Add in the canned tomatoes and reduce the heat to medium low. Add in spices and milk, stirring to incorporate. Let simmer, uncovered, for at least 2 hours. Stir occasionally so meat doesn't stick to bottom of pan. Sauce will reduce, darken, and thicken. It will be about ½ to ⅔ its original volume. Season with salt to taste.
- Serve family style with fresh pasta and grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese on top.