Here’s another recipe from my bartering-buddy Amy (although she definitely seems to be holding up her end of the relationship more than I am!) In addition to today’s yummy pasta sauce, she has also made us vegetarian lasagna and some soup (which I’m sure will be appearing on the blog soon) and I’ve only made some name art for her daughter’s room. As long as she’s happy cooking, I’m happy eating, lol.
This version includes ground beef, pancetta, veggies and milk, but omits the wine which is sometimes added to this sauce. Slow cooking is key! Leave enough time to simmer for 2-3 hrs. It doesn’t need a tonne of babysitting while it’s simmering, but you won’t exactly be able to leave to house so I recommend making a big batch to make the effort worthwhile. The quantities below make a double batch for a family of four (or up to a triple batch if your little ones don’t eat huge quantities for dinner as mine tends to do).
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1/3 lb pancetta, medium to thick slices – diced (you’ll need a very sharp knife for this)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium sized yellow onion (I use Spanish) – diced
- 2 stalks celery – diced
- 1 large carrot – peeled and diced
- 1 tbsp roasted garlic (can substitute fresh or dried to taste)
- “pinches” of clove and nutmeg
- 2 cups milk
- 2 large cans whole tomatoes – broken up by hand (get the good stuff, totally worth it in this dish)
- 4 cups stock (can use all chicken stock, or a mix of chicken and beef stock)
Sautee pancetta in olive oil. Once browned, set aside and drain fat from pan. In the same pan, sautee ground beef until browned and just cooked through, set aside and drain fat from pan.
Add olive oil to pan (a few turns around the pan) and sautee onion until caramelized (as onion sweats, it will pick up all of the deliciousness from the bottom of the pan from the pancetta and beef). Add diced celery and carrot and sautee until celery is softened. Add garlic, nutmeg and clove, stir for 1-2 minutes to combine and “wake up” the spices.
If using a cast iron like I have here, transfer mixture to a large pot and add meats, tomatoes, stock and milk. Simmer on low to medium until reduced to desired thickness.
Great as a make ahead, and freezes well for several weeks.
Thanks Amy and I look forward to your next round of deliciousness which will fill my belly!