Uplifting Winter Bolognese Sauce with Pappardelle

The cold wintry nights and endless sunless months are challenging to even the native Seattleites.  Eating the right kinds of food and adding the right activities can make people less susceptible to SAD. This recipe can bring anyone out of a rut, and the taste alone can comfort even in the blistering of winters. The kitchen will emanate with an appealing aroma of fleshly zested nutmeg–sure to lift the spirits.

A good pasta sauce must be meaty, hearty, and saucy.  This winter Bolognese sauce is adapted from Marcella Hazan’s popular recipe in the NYT. The main difference is the use of red wine (preferably Sangiovese) instead of a white one. I add an extra step of sautéing pancetta (or European bacon) to add another dimension to the flavor. I also add a bit more of the nutmeg as the MH’s just offers a hint of it, better for summer consumption.


1 lbs ground beef (85% lean)

1/2 lbs ground pork

1/8 lbs pancetta

3 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 large or 2 medium size onions, diced

3 long celery stalk, diced

2 medium size carrots, finely diced

1 can San Marzano whole tomato with juice

5 tablespoons of tomato paste

1 cup whole milk

1 1/2 cup Sangiovese Red Wine

1 tablespoon freshly grated Nutmeg

Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese


  1. In a cast iron deep cocotte, heat oil and the butter until sizzling, stir in the pancetta and lightly brown.20181021_162427-01.jpeg
  2. Add the onion and saute until translucent. Add the carrots and celery to the onions and saute for about 3 to 4 minutes.


3.Stir in the ground beef and pork and continue to saute until the meat is cooked through. Salt the meat while cooking.

4. Add the red wine and let it simmer until the alcohol has evaporated, about 8-10 minutes. Add the milk and let it simmer until the liquid is about half.

5. Add the tomatoes and the juice followed by the tomato paste. Stir the mixture until even. Mash the tomatoes as you stir with a wooden spoon.

6. Turn to the lowest heat and let the sauce thicken. Add the beef broth, about 1/4 cup each time every 30 minutes while simmering for a total of about 2 to 3 hours.