Let me walk you through some of the key ingredients and steps that make this bucatini bolognese so incredible.
The way you’ll brown the ground pork and beef to where it’s starting to really crisp adds so much flavor.
The mushrooms add earthiness and the carrots bring out such a nice, slight sweetness.
Milk adds creaminess while the wine offers acidity that binds and brings out so many of the flavors.
The cheese rinds add nuttiness as they simmer in the sauce.
And speaking of simmer…don’s skip it! A lengthy simmer marries all the flavors together so perfectly.
You have to use bucatini! Okay, you don’t have to, but I highly recommend you do. It’s the best of the best. The hallowed-out, chewy, long pasta gets coated AND FILLED with sauce which gives you more sauce with each bite. The perfect vehicle for this bolognese.
We seriously can’t get enough of this bucatini bolognese. It’s one of those meals that no matter how full you feel, you just can’t stop. You catch yourself eating it too fast and then force yourself to slow down because you just don’t want it to end. It’s comfort food at its best.
I hope you enjoy making it and eating it as much as we do!
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 ounces pancetta or bacon, minced
- 1 cup baby portabella mushrooms, finely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 large carrots, finely diced
- 6 celery ribs, finely diced
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 pound ground chuck
- kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 cups red wine
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup milk
- 1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes (such as San Marzano)
- 3-4 small cheese rinds from Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh basil, plus more for garnishing
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1 pound dry bucatini pasta
- ½ cup thinly fresh grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese
- In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta, mushrooms, garlic, onions, carrots and celery. Cook slowly until pancetta starts to brown and vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes.
- In another large pot over medium heat, heat the other 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add both meats and cook slowly, stirring frequently, until the meat is browned and starting to really crisp, at least 30 minutes. Salt and pepper generously. Stir in red pepper flakes, if desired.
- Add the tomato paste to the meat mixture and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Deglaze the pot with the vegetables by adding 1 cup of the red wine. Transfer everything from the vegetable pot to the pot with the meat. Add the remaining red wine and deglaze the pot. Scrape all the bits and pieces that might accumulate and let simmer to start reducing, for about 10 minutes.
- Add the chicken stock, milk, crushed tomatoes and cheese rinds and let simmer over low heat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Remove what is left of the cheese rinds and discard. Stir the minced basil and thyme into the sauce. Let the sauce sit while you prepare the pasta.
- Cook the bucatini pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain all but a ½ cup of water off of the pasta and put the pasta directly into the pot of bolognese sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes to incorporate the sauce into the pasta, adding the reserved pasta water as necessary.
- Plate each portion of bolognese coated bucatini and then finish with the grated parmesan, torn basil and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
This recipe was adapted from Chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s Perciatelli with Bolognese recipe as seen on The Best Thing I Ever Made on Food Network.