Blackout Ragu

By • October 19, 2010 4 Comments

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Author Notes: I make a lot of different versions of this kind of sauce, with and without porcinis, with and without milk, different meats, etc. This one was a result of an extended blackout we had last August. Once the freezer contents started melting the many packages of grass-fed, farm to my freezer ground meats had to be cooked. Milk was at a premium that week, so I didn't use any and found I really liked it just fine without. Luckily I have a gas stove! This feeds a ton of people - 12+ - with about 2 or 3 pounds of pasta so though there's meat, it's spread over many servings. healthierkitchen


Serves a blackout potluck or at least two meals for 4 - 6, unless your teenaged son has a couple of friends over and then who knows?

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 5 tablespoons double concentrated tomato paste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large frying pan, crumble and brown the ground meats, breaking up large chunks with the back of a spoon. Drain the meat out of the fat and reserve the meat.
  2. In a large, heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven set over medium hdat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and the pancetta. Let the pancetta brown a little and render some fat, but not crispen.
  3. Add the onion, celery and carrot to the pot with the pancetta. Salt lightly and cook until the vegetables soften and onions become translucent.
  4. Add the drained ground meat to the vegetables and pancetta and again break up any larger chunks of meat with the back of the spoon.
  5. Add the wine to the pot and raise the heat to bring the mixture to a boil and then lower and simmer for 2 - 3 minutes.
  6. Add the tomato paste and a bay leaf and cover pot contents with water by about an inch.
  7. Continue to simmer for about three hours, adding more water if the mixture starts looking too dry. Taste for salt and pepper.
  8. Remove the bay leaf and serve over penne or tagliatelle with Parmesan cheese.

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