Rigatoni With Bolognese Sauce

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Recipe by Peter Steriti

This hardy meat sauce is often referred to as Ragù, short for Ragù alla Bolognese.  A version of it made with meatballs, sausages, and any leftover meat was a staple in our household, served at least one night every week.   In parts of Italy, the sauce starts with a battuto, a flavor pack made with minced carrots, celery, onion and salt pork.  Once cooked together, it is called soffritto.  Mom usually started her "gravy" with slices of salt pork, discarded once rendered.  Next she sautéed onion and garlic until transparent and also discarded them.  Meats were browned and mostly cooked through, followed by tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and lots of basil.  Here's a very simple version we frequently make at home.  It's the ultimate comfort food, is really easy to make, and it is simply delicious.  We always double the recipe and freeze dinner portions.  Italians believe leftover sauce tastes even better than the original.  "Italian" just doesn't get any better than this!  Remember, PLEASE DO NOT overcook the pasta.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Sauté garlic in the olive oil.  Discard when lightly brown.
  2. Add ground sausage and beef.  Using the edge of a spatula, chop to break meats apart while browning.  When cooked through, add both cans of tomatoes, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, sprigs of basil and a few grinds of black pepper.
  3. Simmer for at least 2 1/2 to 3 hours with cover jarred, adding water as needed.  Stir occasionally to prevent bottom from burning.
  4. When ready to eat, briskly boil 4 to 6 quarts of water in a large pot with a tablespoon of Kosher salt.  Add pasta, stirring initially to prevent sticking.  When water reaches a second boil, reduce heat but still maintaining a boil.  Cook pasta al dente, firm and chewy, about 12 minutes.  Sample pasta for proper texture earlier to ensure pasta isn't overcooked.  When ready, drain in a strainer.
  5. Discard basil.  Adjust for salt. Scoop a ladle or two of the sauce on the bottom of the pot used to cook the pasta.   Mix strained pasta in the pot with a large spoon.  When coated, place in a serving platter or individual bowls and top with lots of sauce.   Pass grated or shredded parmigiana cheese.
  6. Refrigerate or freeze leftover sauce.

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