Pasta alla Bolognese
- 2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms (optional)
- 1 1/2 About 1 1/2 cups hot water, if using dried mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups finely chopped yellow or red onion
- 2/3 cup peeled and finely chopped carrot
- 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
- 1 pound ground beef (or half beef and half pork)
- 1 cup white wine
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 4 cups beef broth, heated
- 1 to 2 cups heavy cream or milk (optional)
- 1 pound fresh pappardelle
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)
- 1/4 About 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
Adapted from cheatsheet.com
If using dried porcini, place in a bowl, add the hot water to cover and let soak until softened, about 1 hour. Remove the porcini, squeezing out the excess water, and chop finely. Line a small sieve with cheesecloth, place over a bowl, and pour the soaking liquid through it. Set the mushrooms and liquid aside separately.
In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and sauté until lightly colored, about 15 minutes. Add the meat and cook, stirring often, until browned, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook until evaporated, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, then add the salt, pepper, nutmeg, broth, and the porcini and strained soaking liquid, if using. Bring to a boil, cover partially, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently, stirring from time to time, until the flavors are fully blended, about 2 hours.
Taste and adjust the seasonings. If desired, add the cream or milk to round out the flavor, pouring it in slowly.
Just before serving, bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil. Add the pappardelle, stir well and cook until al dente, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and transfer to a warmed bowl.
Add the sauce to the pasta and toss well. Divide among warmed individual plates. If you have not added the cream or milk, you can top each portion with 1 tablespoon of the butter, if desired. Top with Parmesan cheese at table.