Red Wine Bolognese over Rigatoni Pasta

Happy Valentine's Day!  We've all heard the phrase, "the best way to a man's heart is through his stomach.Well, The Community Plate likes to think we've got that down pat.  I don't know about other women, but my boyfriend is basically obsessed with ground beef.  Ob. Sessed.  On pizza, pasta, tacos, burritos, nachos, or by itself, he can't get enough.  This pasta bolognese is a dish you can make any carnivorous, meat-loving man!  It's hearty, flavorful, creamy, and elegant enough for a perfect candlelight dinner by the fire - especially on this snowy, chilly night (depending on where you're reading from).  Read on for the recipe:

What You'll Need:
  • 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 lb. pancetta, cut in cubes
  • 8 oz. sliced mushrooms, finely diced
  • 1/2 medium-sized white onion, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 12 oz. ground sausage
  • 1 1/3 cup dry red wine
  • 1 can Hunt's or Cento crushed tomatoes (28 oz.)
  • 4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup light cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta

1.  Swirl a stock pot with 3 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil.  Add the pancetta to the pot and cook until crisp.  Add sliced mushrooms, onion, garlic, and carrot to the pan and cook until all vegetables are soft.  In a non-stick skillet, cook ground beef and sausage together until browned and no longer pink.  Add meat to the pot and stir to incorporate everything.

2.  To the stock pot, add your dry red wine and scrap up all the bits from the bottom of the pan.  Stir and let simmer for about 5-7 minutes.  Add your crushed tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, and light cream to the pot.  Stir well and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, covered.  (Usually you would heat a sauce with the lid off because the lid creates steam and makes sauces watery.  However, with this meat-to-liquid ratio, you'll want some steam to drip off in there.)  Salt and pepper as needed.

3.  Cook pasta according to package directions.  When al dente, turn off burner and use a slotted spoon to add the pasta to the sauce, taking a little starchy cooking water with you.  Mix well and make sure the sauce coats all the pasta.  Sprinkle with some parmesan, if desired, and ENJOY!


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