There are few recipes that violate my general rule of being able to prepare them in less than an hour on a weeknight. This is one of them, and it is worth every moment that you spend on it. I make a ton at once so that I have plenty of leftovers. It also forms the base for a fantastic lasagna, recipe to come later. Minimum requirement: an 8-qt stock pot and five hours (most of the time is spent simmering). Nothing smaller will work.
My most recent batch was made following the original recipe, using canned whole tomatoes and their juice. Bad move. The tomatoes were too chunky and the extra water took forever to reduce, nearly doubling the cooking time.
- 3 Tbsp light olive oil
- 3 Tbsp butter
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1.5-2 lbs lean ground beef
- 2 cups dry white wine
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
- 2 large (28 oz) cans tomatoes, crushed or pureed
- Parmigiano reggiano cheese, freshly grated
Heat the butter and olive oil in the stock pan and saute until the onion has turned golden. Add the carrot and celery and continue to saute until they begin to soften.
Add the beef, breaking into smaller chunks with a wooden spoon. Season with salt. Cook until just browned.
Add the wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until it has evaporated completely. Add the milk and nutmeg and continue to cook, stirring, until the milk has also evaporated.
Add the tomatoes and stir. Once the sauce begins to bubble, turn the heat down low to gently simmer. Simmer uncovered for three hours or more, stirring occasionally.
Serve over wide, flat noodles like tagliatelle, or with wide, kid-friendly tubes like rigatoni. Freeze unused sauce in meal-size containers, or save for use in lasagna.
A family favorite, hands down.