Forget engagement chicken. This is the dish to make if you’re really interested in getting engaged! I know there is a whole lotta hoopla out there about making a roast chicken and getting an engagment ring out of the meal but I will tell you that this should really be called “The Engagement Bolognese Sauce” because it is that good; and everyone who eats it falls in love with it. Well…almost. You just have to be a meat lover and a pasta lover. Then, surely, this will work. Try it and let me know. What have you got to lose? This is my perfect Sunday night dinner. It’s pure comfort food. So, even if you’re not looking to get engaged, are already married, or just want a wonderful meat sauce to make…Serve with a green salad with my vinaigrette dressing, a nice crusty bread and you’re set. You can always make my chocolate cherry cookies as an add on bonus. Have a great meal!
(Original inspiration from Mario Batali)
1/4 CUP OLIVE OIL
1 MEDIUM SIZE CARROT DICED
1 MEDIUM CELERY RIB DICED
1 MEDIUM ONION DICED (SPANISH ONION)
1 GARLIC CLOVE, THINLY SLICED
4 OZ. PANCETTA, DICED (I USUALLY CAN FIND A 4 OZ. PKG. IN THE SUPERMARKET ALREADY DICED AND IT WORKS JUST FINE.)
1 LB. GROUND BEEF (NOT THE SUPER LEAN ONE, THE 85/15 IS BEST FOR THIS B/C YOU WANT THE FAT)
1/4 CUP TOMATO PASTE (Why I love the tubes of tomato paste)
1 cup milk (not skim, whole or at least 2 percent)
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup water
salt and freshly ground black pepper
red pepper flakes
fresh parmagiano or pecorino cheese, grated
1 box (1 pound) gemelli or fusilli type pasta
I use my Le Creuset large cast iron casserole.
Heat the olive oil on a medium heat. Add the carrot, celery, onion and garlic. Continue to cook this stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned (you may need to lower heat). Cook for about 10 minutes. Add the pancetta to pot and crisp it up a bit, then add the ground beef breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon until the beef is no longer pink; about 10 minutes . Add the tomato paste and stir it in over a low heat. It will get a shiny look to it, and a deep rust color. Cook for another 10 minutes.
Add the milk, white wine and water and simmer over a low heat, stirring sauce occasionally. It will get thick and saucy looking. I cook it for another 1 1/2 hours. Taste for salt and pepper here.
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook 1 box of pasta according to directions on box, until al dente. Drain pasta and add it to the sauce. Stir well and coat pasta. Serve in nice pasta bowls, along with fresh cheese. I add a few red pepper flakes but I like it hot. You can leave that on the table along with grated cheese for your guests.
Note: You can make sauce ahead and refrigerate for up to 3 days. I have frozen it as well.
This is super yummy, and I believe this is the go to engagement dish.
*serves 8 as a small side dish and 4 as a meal