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Ragù

When I was in college I had a friend whose grandmother lived in Atlanta and was Italian. She’d made this incredible meat sauce for pasta. I’d call it Bolognese, but she’d quickly correct me that it was her family ragù.

While she would never let me make the homemade pasta, which she said anyone could learn anywhere, I finally got to help her make the family ragù.

I had not made this in years and then, about a year ago, rediscovered the recipe that I thought had been long lost. Now it is pretty regular in our house. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

If you cannot find ground pork, substitute in a pound of ground beef.

Ingredients:

Extra-virgin olive oil
1 lbs. ground chuck
1 lbs. ground pork
1 large yellow onion, minced
1 large carrot, minced
2 large celery stalks, minced
1 clove garlic
1 1/2 cups beef stock or a good pinot noir red wine
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups whole milk
2 bay leaves
6oz can of tomato paste
Optional: rind from a piece of parmesan cheese
Salt
Pepper

Directions:

Process the vegetables by hand or in a food processor. Keep the garlic separate.

Preheat a large pot over medium heat for five to ten minutes.

Pour enough olive oil into a dutch oven to cover the bottom in a thin layer. Add the beef and pork, crumbling into piece as you add it, until cooked through, but not browned, and remove with a slotted spoon.

Add the onion, carrot, and celery, turn the heat up to medium-high, and cook until browned and reduced, about 30 minutes. Add additional olive oil as needed. Add the garlic and return the meat.

Add the wine or beef stock and use a spoon to scrape the bottom of the pot to get off any browned bits. Add the remaining ingredients including, if using, the parmesan rind.

Bring to a boil, then simmer covered on low heat for 30 minutes. At this time, taste and add salt and pepper to your liking. If the ragù thickens too much, add more chicken stock.

Turn the stove heat to the lowest setting and cook, stirring often, for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. During this time skim off the fat.

Remove the parmesan rind and bay leaves, add any additional salt and pepper, then serve with pasta of your choice.

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