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.
We found this version of Tamale Pie in a recent issue of Fine Cooking Magazine. Its name is due to the awesome layer of cornbread that sits on top of the ground beef (or ground turkey) filling, mimicking masa-wrapped, meat-filled tamales. In lieu of more traditionally used canned tomatoes, this Southwest riff favors green chiles and tangy, tomatillo-spiked salsa verde.
As is often the case, we put our own spin on the recipe. In this instance, we doubled the amounts of beans and onion. Originally I planned on using ground turkey in place of ground beef, but the supermarket was out of it. (Still dealing with COVID supply and delivery issues two years later!)
After it was fully cooked, and I went to spoon out a portion, there seemed to be a fair amount of liquid in the bottom of the skillet. Once in my dinner bowl however, the fluid soaked up into the cornbread topping. Perhaps replacing the zucchini with red pepper—which has less moisture content—would be a good alternative and add a nice pop of color.
Based on some of the ingredients, you may think it is spicy. And yes, it does have a slight kick, but I wouldn’t scale back on any of the suggested amounts. An alternative, if spice is just not your thing, incorporate milder salsa verde and chopped green chiles. We both thought that the leftovers, when reheated, were even better than the first go-around—plus any liquid had been reabsorbed.