Spaghetti and Meat Sauce - Alton Brown

Recipe by DrGaellon
READY IN: 5hrs 50mins




  • 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.