Cooking with Grace, Recipes

Cooking with Grace: Warm up with This Perfect-for-Winter Bolognese Recipe

Welcome to Cooking with Grace! This is where Grace Singleton, a managing partner at the Deli, shares her favorite products and delectable home cooking tips with us. This week, she’s using Val Serena Parmigiano Reggiano to make this rich, delicious, and perfect-for-winter pasta with ground beef and red sauce. It takes a little time, but the results are well worth it!

2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp butter
¾ cup diced onion ( ½” size pieces)
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 lb. ground beef or chuck
2 tbsp. Pianogrillo estratto di pomodori
2 tbsp. garlic diced ¼ “
2 cups plain tomato sauce, or canned tomatoes with juice
½ cup+ Val Serena Parmigiano Reggiano
Salt & pepper to taste
½ package Rustichella Maccheroni Al Torchio (or your favorite shape)

Preparation time:
1 hour 5 minutes

Prepare pasta water. Be sure to salt it—rule of thumb is 1 1/2 tablespoons of salt for every pound of water. While you are cooking the tomato and meat sauce, you can bring the pasta to a boil, cook according to package instructions, and drain (being sure to reserve 1-2 cups of the cooking liquid to add to the sauce).

Heat olive oil and butter in a sautee pan on the stove over medium heat—you want a pan that is at least 16-inch wide. Add chopped onion and sautee until translucent. Add the thyme sprigs and continue cooking until just slightly browned on the edges. Transfer the onion and thyme mixture with the oil from the pan to a small bowl and set aside for use later.

Add the ground beef to the same pan and place over medium-high heat. When adding the ground beef to the pan, gently break it up into 1-2-inch pieces. Ground beef is delicate—similar to pie dough—if you work it too much, it will be tough and rubbery. Also don’t aggressively stir the ground beef, which will also break it up, and can give it a mealy texture. I prefer the ground beef to be in small to medium size, browned but still tender pieces. Once the beef has browned well on one side, drain off excess fat, and turn the pieces over to brown on the other side (and again not stirring and breaking up the beef as you want to leave the pieces fairly intact). Once fully browned and cooked to medium (just a little pink in the middle), drain off any more excess fat (this can be left to cool, and then discarded or shared with any family pets) and remove the meat from the pan to rest.

Add the onions and thyme back to the same pan, add 2 tablespoons estratto pomodori (the Italian version of tomato paste but more flavorful) and chopped garlic. Allow the onions and thyme to brown a bit more with the estratto and cook down to intensify and blend the flavors. Add the tomato sauce, and cook down until it is your preferred consistency. Cooking briefly will result in a looser, more liquid sauce, while reducing it longer will result in a thicker, more clingy sauce. Add ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano to the sauce along with the cooked drained ground beef. Cook just a couple minutes allowing the cheese to melt into the sauce and the beef to warm up. Add the cooked pasta and a little of the reserved pasta water, allowing the sauce to coat the pasta.

This a great weekend recipe, and if you have leftovers, even better!