During the colder months, I’m very much drawn to hearty, filling meals like this meaty, flavorful ragu recipe from Recipes from the Maine Kitchen. Once again, this favorite cookbook delivered a winning recipe that earned “really good” reviews from my husband.
The original recipe serves 8-10 (as written below). I halved it, and was also missing a few ingredients, but it was still excellent. Being a home cook generally means being realistic – you’re not always going to have on hand, want to buy, or be able to find every single ingredient in a recipe. This means finding a recipe that still delivers results even when not prepared just so is like finding a treasure.
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 onions, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely diced
- 1 1/2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1/4 lb. pancetta, finely diced
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 3/4 lb. ground pork
- 6 large chicken livers
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 3 cups chicken or beef stock
- 1/2 cup tomato puree
- 1/2 lb. mushrooms
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Ravioli or rigatoni pasta (you could also serve this over spinach or rice, if trying to avoid gluten)
Heat olive oil with butter, and saute onions, carrots, celery, and pancetta until golden.
Add the meats gradually, breaking them into small pieces. Cook until meats render their fats and turn brown. Add white wine and let it evaporate on high heat. Add stock and stir well. Bring to simmer and tomato puree. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. (my simmering only lasted about an hour, as the liquid cooked down very quickly)
Meanwhile (or close to the end of simmer time), saute mushrooms in remaining butter, adding some salt and pepper. I would also start your water for pasta, if desired, around now. Add the garlic and chopped parsley to the mushrooms. When sauce is done simmering, add mushrooms and heavy cream. Simmer together for about 5 minutes to blend the flavors, and serve over pasta.
As indicated early in this post, this recipe was really good. It will be added to the roster of meals at the Vaughn house! It was rich, flavorful, and pretty straightforward to prepare. I could even make it on a weeknight, because the simmering didn’t take as long as anticipated. I did not include the chicken livers – because I visited two stores and couldn’t find them at either – and discovered that my mushrooms had gone bad when I went to retrieve them from the fridge. Although both would have been nice to have, their exclusion didn’t negatively impact our enjoyment of dinner.
One of the things I like best about the Maine Kitchen cookbook is the frequent inclusion of wine pairings with their recipes. In this case, the author recommends a Barbaresco.