Pasta is the ultimate comfort food for me. I could literally have pasta everyday and not get one bit tired of it. I control myself and allow for pasta one night a week. Growing up, my mom rarely (if ever) made us meat sauce. We were really a marinara family and no one complained. Now, I love a good meat sauce on a cold evening. Although it is springtime, it is still pretty cold up here on Mercer Island! This meat sauce was a perfect dinner for an early spring night.
Ragù is Italian tomato sauce with meat. This sauce is close to a Bolognese but since it does not have red wine in it, I cannot officially deem it as such. I like to start my hearty red sauces with a soffritto of diced carrots, celery, and red onion. It adds a lot of flavor and also helps to get your servings of vegetables in for the day!
I decided to serve this ragù with bucatini which is like a thick spaghetti noodle with a hole in in.
I have been looking at all the speciality markets I could possibly think of to find bucatini and finally found it at the Italian market at Pike Place Market (DeLaurenti's for locals). If you cannot find it, you can serve this sauce with another long pasta like thick spaghetti or even a fettuccine or tagliatelle.
Another important part of this recipe is the canned tomatoes. Try to find San Marzano tomatoes if you can. I like to buy the whole, peeled variety and then stick my kitchen shears in the can to cut the tomatoes to bite-sized pieces.
Bucatini with Ragù
Pasta with Meat Sauce
1 pound bucatini pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large carrots, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, diced
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon Italian herbs
1/4 teaspoon crushed red peppers
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
2- 28 ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes (preferably San Marzano), cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (can sub parmesan), plus more for serving
1/2 cup julienned fresh basil, plus more for garnish
Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in your dutch oven or large, heavy bottomed pot. Add carrots, celery, onions, and garlic.
Cook on medium until onions are translucent and carrots are soft, about 8 minutes. Add the meat, Italian herbs, crushed red peppers, and salt and cook until meat is browned. Add mushrooms and cook for for 2 minutes Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and salt. Bring everything to a boil.
Lower heat and let simmer for at least 20 minutes. While sauce is simmering, prepare bucatini according to package directions for al dente. Once sauce has simmered, add cream and basil.
Let cook for 5 mins. Take off heat, add parmegano-reggiano and drained pasta. Serve garnished with more grated cheese and basil.