Cook5 hrs 30 mins
Taken from Brown's _Good Eats_ episode "American Classics: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce." He insists on freshly ground meat from whole cuts, so you know exactly what you're getting; he has the butcher grind it for him, but you can do it yourself if you have the equipment. Be sure to use a WHITE wine for the sweetness and bright acidity; a red will tend to get astringent with this kind of cooking.
- 6 ounces thick-cut bacon, cut into 1-inch strips
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 1⁄2 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 whole star anise
- 3 whole cloves
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1⁄2 lb boneless beef chuck roast, ground coarse
- 1⁄2 lb boneless pork butt, ground coarse
- 1 1⁄4 cups white wine, divided
- 3 celery ribs, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3⁄4 cup evaporated milk
- 3 cups beef broth
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- 2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 tablespoon sherry wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1⁄2 lb spaghetti
- 1⁄3 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Set an 8 qt cast iron Dutch oven over low heat and add the bacon. Cook until the fat renders and the bacon is crispy. Transfer bacon to a paper-towel lined plate.
- Add onion, salt and pepper to fat in pot. Place star anise and cloves in a small cotton spice bag (or wrap in cheesecloth); lay the flat of a chef's knife across the spices and smash your fist on the blade to crack them (or use a mallet). Add the spice bag to the pot as well. Cook over low heat until onions break down and caramelize, about 45 minutes, stirring every few minutes.
- Place a 4 qt saute pan over high heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil. When oil begins to emit wisps of smoke, add beef and pork. Stir constantly for 4-5 minutes until the meat is brown and broken into small chunks. Transfer to a colander set over a bowl. Return the saute pan to the high heat.
- Deglaze saute pan with 1/2 cup white wine, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. When wine has reduced by half, turn off the heat.
- When onions are mahogany brown, add celery and minced garlic. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes, until intensely fragrant. Remove and discard the spice bag.
- Add the meat and reduced wine to Dutch oven. Add another 1/2 cup white wine, evaporated milk and beef broth. Add porcinis. Cook very slowly over low heat, covered, for 3 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.
- Add 1 tbsp olive oil to saute pan and heat until shimmering over medium heat. Add sliced garlic and saute until fragrant, 30-45 seconds. Add tomatoes (with any juice in the cans), along with oregano, marjoram and basil. Cook over medium heat until most of the liquid evaporates, 25-30 minutes.
- Reduce heat to low and add tomato paste, ketchup, sherry vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and 1/4 cup white wine. Simmer 30 minutes.
- Add 1 tbsp olive oil to tomatoes and turn heat up to medium high. Stir vigorously and constantly for 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes to meat mixture. Continue to simmer over low heat, uncovered, while preparing pasta.
- Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a deep, narrow pot. Add salt. Add spaghetti when water is at a rolling boil. Stir for a few minutes to minimize sticking, then reduce heat to keep a steady but not violent boil. Start checking after 5 minutes; the pasta should be not-quite al dente; there should still be a little crunch in the center. Drain the pasta and add to the meat sauce, along with parmesan cheese. Cook another 4-5 minutes until pasta is al dente.