Welcome home baby!

Hearty Meat Ragu

When times are good, we eat.  When times are bad, we eat.  When something wonderful happens, we celebrate with a big meal and a big glass of wine, and when something terrible happens, we are consoled by friends and family bearing casseroles. 

I am truly bubbling with excitement to be an Auntie for the very first time – and I’m sure my excitement will actually boil over when I get to meet my brand new nephew tomorrow.  But it hasn’t escaped my notice that the last time I saw this much food all packed into aluminum pans and freezer containers was during Shiva for my grandmother. The parallels are undeniable. Clearly, as we come into the world and as we leave it, the same rule applies; celebrating life means FOOD.  In a very big way!

meat raguSo as I head to the Amtrak station tomorrow I will be toting with me a shopping bag packed with chocolate chip scones (from this old Bon Apetit Recipe), Bran Raisin Muffins (right off the Bob’s Red Mill wheat bran package), corn bread (a simple version from the Food Network), granola, and homemade chocolate truffles.  Plus, I’m stuffing a little cooler full of freezer containers filled with BBQ pulled pork (so simple – just toss pork shoulder and root beer in a slow cooker for 8 hours, drain, shred, and mix with BBQ sauce) and a thick and hearty meat ragu. 

This meat sauce is so savory and satisfying, and reheats incredibly well.  It’s the perfect thing to tuck in the freezer for a warm and comforting meal anytime.  Just pop it in the microwave, boil up some pasta, mix the two together, and you have dinner.  Exactly what the new Mom and Dad need!  Of course, by microwaving you miss the incredible aroma that fills the house when you let the ragu simmer.  I love the smell, and I also love the waiting and simmering.  Meat ragu and light readingI could lie and tell you that while the sauce cooked I did something productive (like washing the pile of laundry currently overtaking my closet), but making this sauce put me in a very indulgent mood, so I spent the evening deep in an easy novel – my guilty pleasure!

cheeseI have a crazy little quirk about pasta shapes, and generally hate any and all long pasta.  Maybe it’s all that twirling, or perhaps my mother’s voice in my head screaming about ruining my Laura Ashley dress with tomato splatter.  In any case, no matter how you feel about angel hair and spaghetti, this ragu really calls for a less delicate shape, preferably something that will capture all the chunky goodness in every bite.  Wagon wheels are my favorite, but ziti will work just as well.

Hearty Meat Ragu

Serves 10

2 tablespoons olive oil

3/4 cup chopped onion

1/2 cup chopped carrot

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped bell pepper

2 tablespoons chopped garlic

3 ounces pancetta, chopped

1 pound ground veal

1 pound sweet italian sausage

1 28 ounce can tomato sauce

1 15 ounce can diced tomato

1 cup red wine

2 teaspoons dried basil

2 teaspoons dried thyme

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

a 2 inch by 2 inch by 1 inch piece of parmesan cheese rind

Salt to taste

In a large dutch oven or soup pot, sauté the onion, carrot, celery, and pepper in oil over medium heat, until all vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and pancetta and cook another 10 minutes.  Add the veal and the sausage and continue to cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until all the meat is browned.  Stir in the cans of tomato sauce and tomatoes, along with the wine, herbs, pepper, and hunk of cheese rind.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least one hour.  Add salt to taste. Remove what remains of the cheese rind before serving.

basil tomato meat sauce

Published in: on January 15, 2010 at 7:47 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This sauce looks easy and delicious. I am tempted to try it out tonight! I hope you enjoy being an Auntie!

  2. I loved that you used ground veal, I forgot how much I love that taste in a hearty meat sauce, so good. Will have to do that next time. I also like using the 3 ground meat packs for meatloaf in my meat sauces- usually ground beef, pork and veal.

  3. […] cups Hearty Meat Ragu (or your favorite meat […]

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