This version of bolognese is half lamb and half ground beef, a mixture you’ll see a lot in northern Italy, and because the lamb is lean, this is a somewhat lighter sauce than all-beef or pork-based ragu.
The sauce needs a good long simmer, but it makes enough that you’ll likely get two meals. Giada claims the pasta shouldn’t be swimming in sauce; you only want it to stain the pasta, but we are “saucy” people and like to pile on a fair amount.
One of the ingredients is Calabrian chili paste, but a good substitute is Sriracha, and that’s what we used.
1 can whole San Marzano tomatoes, (28 ounce) crushed by hand
1 bay leaf
1 piece parmesan rind, (3 inch)
1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 lb. fusilli, cooked to package instructions; or polenta
Heat a medium dutch oven over medium heat. Add the butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil and warm until the butter is melted.
Add the onions, carrots, celery and a 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook stirring often for 6 minutes or until the vegetable are soft but have no color.
Add the lamb and beef and cook breaking apart the meat with a wooden spoon for 5 minutes or until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink.
Stir the garlic, chili paste, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste into the meat mixture. Cook the tomato paste stirring often for 2 minutes.
Add the milk. Bring to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until the milk is almost entirely evaporated.
Add the wine, tomatoes, bay leaf, parmesan rind and remaining salt. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low to just maintain a gentle simmer. Simmer the sauce for 1 ½ to 2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Use several folded paper towels to skim some of the oil from the surface.
Discard the bay leaf and parm rind.
Spoon the bolognese over fusilli or creamy polenta reserving any extra to serve on the side. Serve with additional parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil, if desired.
As we were eating this lovely pasta dish, The Hubs exclaimed how much he liked it. I responded “And the list of ingredients was short for such depth of flavor and it was simple to boot!” Then he looked at the Milk Street recipe print out and saw that this adaptation hailed from Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbook titled “Simple”—how serendipitous!
That being said, I cut back the pasta from 12 to 8 ounces because it did not seem that the amount of sauce would be sufficient for the larger quantity. With gentle simmering and a bit of water to facilitate cooking, cherry or grape tomatoes are transformed into a bold pasta sauce. To ratchet up the flavor, herbs, red pepper flakes and pecorino Romano are added. Try to get a block of the cheese to create shavings as opposed to the already grated variety.
Fusilli was our choice, but spaghetti or bucatini (a tubular pasta resembling thick spaghetti) also pairs particularly well with the sauce. Be aware that you do not want to simmer the tomatoes until there is no liquid remaining. Some moisture is needed for the sauce to cling to the pasta.
8 oz. fusilli, bucatini pasta or spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
¾ tsp. smoked paprika
Shaved pecorino Romano, to serve
Add the oil to a 12-inch skillet. Turn the heat to medium-high, and add the garlic, pepper flakes and bay, then cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the tomatoes, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 4 minutes.
Reduce to medium-low and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a steady simmer, until the tomatoes have fully broken down and the sauce is thick enough that a spatula drawn through it leaves a trail, 40 to 50 minutes.
Remove from the heat and remove and discard the bay. Stir in 1 tablespoon of sage and the smoked paprika, then cover to keep warm.
When the sauce is almost ready, in a large pot, bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt and the fusilli, then cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente.
Drain the pasta, then return to the pot. Add the sauce and toss until well combined. Transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon sage and shaved pecorino, then drizzle with additional oil.