one pound rigatoni (spend the money on decent dried pasta)
3/4 pound ground meat (I used an even beef/pork/veal mix)
1/3 cup diced onion
1/3 cup diced carrot
1/3 cup diced celery
six cloves garlic, diced
one bay leaf
one large can crushed san marzano tomatoes
salt and pepper
one cup white wine
half cup milk
two tablespoons butter
half cup grated parmigiano reggiano
two tablespoons chopped flat parsley
Sautee the onions, carrot, and celery with generous cracked black until the carrots are starting to soften. Then throw in the garlic and continue to sautee.
When the garlic is nice and soft and golden, throw in the meat, and continue to sautee, breaking it up real well. You can turn up the heat a bit so the meat browns somewhat, but don’t char it.
Meat is done.
Deglaze with the wine, and reduce vigorously until the liquid is almost all gone.
Add the milk, and reduce vigorously until the liquid is pretty much all gone.
This is the final meat product.
Add the tomatoes, cover, and simmer on lowest heat for at least two hours, and the longer the better. Add salt to taste while it cooks.
This is the final ragu. As you can see, even simmering covered, it does reduce quite a bit, and you may need to add some water partway through. For any vegetarians, I suspect that this recipe would work nicely substituting a meaty mushroom–like portobella or shitake–for the meat.
Use high quality pasta. It’s worth the extra couple dollars.
This is a little out of focus, but you can still see that the surface of the pasta is rough–fuzzy white–not smooth. This is because they use brass dies with some sort of special surface to extrude the pasta, which gives it the rough surface. You want this, because it helps the sauce adhere to and permeate the surface of the pasta.
Boil the pasta in salty water until it is molto al dente, drain (reserving one half cup pasta water), add to the ragu with the one half cup pasta water, and stir to evenly coat and finish the pasta for about one minute one medium-low heat. Be careful stirring, as rigatoni is more fragile than smaller pasta, like fusilli or penne.
Turn off the heat, throw in the grated cheese, butter, and parsley. Stir to incorporate.
Plate and grate! The cool thing about rigatoni is that the motherfucken sauce gets inside the lumen of the tube!