Stanley Tucci's Classic Bolognese
For maximum flavor, cook this sauce from actor Stanley Tucci's cookbook a day in advance.
Actor Stanley Tucci likes to make a big batch of this sauce so that he can freeze the leftovers. You can find this recipe and more in his cookbook The Tucci Table: Cooking With Family and Friends.
- 2 celery stalks
- 2 carrots
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 onions
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 oz pancetta, very finely chopped or minced
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 pinch sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/3 cups red wine
- 2 bay leaves
- leaves from 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 14-oz. can whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
- 1 cup whole milk (lactose free is fine)
- 1 lb pasta, fettuccine or pappardelle works best
- Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for garnish
1. Finely chop the celery, carrot, garlic and onion. You can also pulse them in a blender, but be sure they retain some integrity and don't turn into a paste. Set aside.
2. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil and butter over low to medium heat. Be careful not to let the butter burn. Add the pancetta, just to soften it. Then add the celery, carrot, garlic and onion mixture and stir to coat well. Sweat the vegetables in the pan, stirring every now and then, for a good 10 to 12 minutes. You want them to melt and break down. Then add the meat, crumbling it in with your hands as you go. Leave it to sear and take on color. Turn it often with a spoon or spatula to make sure the meat is browned and has "caught" the bottom of the pan a little.
3. Season with salt and pepper. Add the wine and bring to a simmer to cook out the alcohol. Add the bay leaves, thyme and tomatoes, and stir to combine. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until it has reduced slightly, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the milk. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer very gently for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook it according to directions and then drain the pasta.
5. Serve sauce over the pasta, topped with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serves 6 to 8.