Bolognese Meat Sauce (makes 4 cups):
5 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup finely chopped celery
½ cup finely chopped carrot
½ cup finely chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
1 large bay leaf
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 ounces finely diced prosciutto (optional)
¼ pound ground veal
¼ pound ground pork
¼ pound ground beef
⅓ cup red wine
½ cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups chicken or beef stock
½ pound frozen peas
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound rigatoni pasta
Grated Parmesan cheese to taste
Serves 4 to 6
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan set on high heat until sizzling, about 2 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes, celery, carrot, onion, garlic, bay leaf, sage and basil, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally.
Raise the heat to high, and add the optional prosciutto, and the veal, pork and beef. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the wine, reduce the heat to medium, and let it cook until almost evaporated, about 5 minutes. Raise the heat to high, add the tomato sauce, tomato paste and stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring well every 15 minutes.
Add the peas and simmer for 15 more minutes.
If you like your sauce thicker, remove the cover during the last 15 minutes of cooking. When it’s done, remove the bay leaf and taste for salt and pepper.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook according to the package directions. When the pasta is cooked, drain it well and put it back into the pot. Add half of the sauce and stir well while cooking over medium heat. Serve the pasta in individual dishes; top each serving with some of the remaining sauce and some grated Parmesan cheese as per your liking.