Serves a Crowd

Rigatoni with White Bolognese

June 10, 2009
5 Ratings
  • Serves 4
What You'll Need
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
  • 1 pound ground beef (not lean)
  • 1 1/2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 cube beef bouillon dissolved in 2 cups simmering water
  • 1 1/2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms rehydrated in 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  1. Add enough oil to a very large, deep saute pan to coat the bottom with a thin film and place over medium high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion, carrots and celery and saute, stirring to coat with oil, until glassy and just tender, about 5 minutes. Season lightly as they cook. (If the pan does not have much room for the meat, pour vegetables into a bowl near the stove, and return the pan to the heat; otherwise, leave them in the pan.) Add the sausage and beef to the pan, breaking it into walnut-size pieces. Brown the meat well, adjusting the heat so the meat does not stew.
  2. Pour in the wine and keep at a rapid simmer until the pan is almost dry. Then pour in 1 1/ 2 cups beef bouillon and lower the heat to medium. Simmer gently, uncovered, until the bouillon is nearly gone. Stir now and then. Meanwhile, chop the rehydrated porcini into small pieces, reserving the mushroom broth, and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  3. Stir enough mushroom broth into the simmering sauce to cover the meat halfway (about 1 cup), along with the chopped porcini, and continue simmering another 10 minutes. The sauce should be quite loose, but not soupy. Taste and adjust seasoning. It should be highly seasoned. When you think it’s the right consistency, pour over the cream and fold to mix, then shut off the heat and cover.
  4. When the pasta water is at a full boil, add the rigatoni and cook until still firm, but not hard, in the center. When the pasta is almost done, scoop out 1 cup of pasta water and keep it near the stove. Drain the pasta and add it back to the pot. Pour the pasta sauce on top and fold it in with a wooden spoon. The pasta should not be dry. Add a little pasta water or mushroom broth to loosen it. (It will continue to soak up sauce on the way to the table.) Present the pasta on a deep platter or in a tureen. Pass the cheese at the table.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sarah
  • WoooPigSooie
  • Mitzi Allen
    Mitzi Allen
  • jessalikestoeat
  • boulangere
Amanda Hesser

Recipe by: Amanda Hesser

Before starting Food52 with Merrill, I was a food writer and editor at the New York Times. I've written several books, including "Cooking for Mr. Latte" and "The Essential New York Times Cookbook." I played myself in "Julie & Julia" -- hope you didn't blink, or you may have missed the scene! I live in Brooklyn with my husband, Tad, and twins, Walker and Addison.

26 Reviews

Sarah October 9, 2017
Wondering if it's possible to make the sauce the day before, and then put everything together the day of serving? I saw in the NYT that one commenter loved this dish the next day, but not sure if it's a good "make ahead" meal?
Amanda H. October 9, 2017
Yes, just don't add the cream to the sauce until the next day!
Sarah October 14, 2017
Thanks very much - prep is happening today :)
Sarah October 15, 2017
Hey Amanda - rather random communication medium, but I had no other option...I wanted you to know I made this recipe (prepped a day in advance, with your advice) and it turned out amazingly at my brunch today. I had a group of all women friends over who didn't know each other; their commonality was being my friend. They all got along, and raved about the food, which involved this dish. It's the type of recipe that begs for a group, that sings 'community!' and that quite simply make everyone happy. So, thank you. Thank you for the thought and care that go into your recipes, and thank you for taking the time to write them down and put them out there in the world, and thank you for giving us a reason to say "hey, I want to make this dish and I need a reason to make it so goddamnit Imma invite a bunch of people over so I can dish out some scrumptious pasta."
Amanda H. October 15, 2017
What an incredibly lovely note -- thank you! I'm so happy to hear it turned out and was well received. And thank you for reminding me -- and all of us -- how important community is to cooking.
Megan September 21, 2017
Amanda, thank you for this recipe! I've made it over 5x now after finishing Cooking for Mr. Latte and if I could...would eat it once a week :). I even doubled it for an engagement party I threw for friends and this dish was raved about days later. It was so easy to prep the ingredients beforehand and throw it all together while friends enjoyed wine and appetizers.
Amanda H. September 21, 2017
So great to hear this!
WoooPigSooie January 15, 2017
I have been dying to make this recipe since reading Mr. Latte years ago. But my husband is mushroom averse. Are they overly apparent in this or will they slip by if chopped small enough??
Amanda H. January 15, 2017
If it's a texture issue, then you could use the mushroom broth (made with dried mushrooms) and then not add the rehydrated mushrooms to the sauce. If it's a matter of flavor, then that's a tough call because the mushroom broth adds so much to the flavor of this dish.
Mitzi A. July 27, 2014
Update this recipe by exchanging the boullion cube and 2 cups of water to just 2 cups of Swanson's Beef Stock. It's the only one I know of that has any real meat in it, but it also has vegetable broth included like boullion does. (Boullion cubes has no real meat either, just chemicals that taste like meat--sort of. Check the labels. No protein? No meat.)
jessalikestoeat May 5, 2012
I have loved this recipe since I read Mr. Latte in college! Actually, this recipe and your writing around it, have much to do with why I became a fan of YOU, Amanda :) As a poor college student, I used to cheat by using a mix of chopped criminis and buttons over pricey porcinis. Still good! Now, as a real live adult, I have found grated pinot must wrapped hard cheeses (very common here in the sf bay area) to make a beautiful earthy upgrade to the normal parm. I appeal to everyone-- try this! Get over the bouillon issues, delicious is delicious!
Amanda H. May 18, 2012
Thanks so much for your comment -- and love your improvisations of the recipe. I make this recipe a few times a year now, and never tire of it.
ellenl April 3, 2011
Gotta make this! Thanks AJ for asking the ? and thus bringing the recipe to my attention and thanks Amanda for posting it!
boulangere April 3, 2011
What a lovely Sunday evening dinner.
AntoniaJames April 3, 2011
Amanda, should that read, "1 cube" and not "1 cup" beef bouillon dissolved in water? I haven't used (or even seen, for that matter) a bouillon cube in years, but if my memory serves me correctly, they tend to be rather concentrated. I have seen a product that comes in jars, now that I think about it. I'm fairly certain I'd use regular beef stock as I tend to make and keep a good supply on hand. I'm on my way over to ask my PicklePals for their input on current bouillon products, just because I'm sort of curious . . . . ;o)
Amanda H. April 3, 2011
Thanks for catching that -- 1 cube, indeed!
JustDonna April 3, 2011
Amanda - I have loved this recipe since first reading in the NY Times in 2002. The flavours are rich and deep - I have made this sauce many times, and it never fails to impress!
cambridgecook March 20, 2010
Made this tonight with venison instead of beef. Delicious! Family very happy.
AntoniaJames February 25, 2010
Can this be made using homemade beef stock instead of the bouillion dissolved in water? I have no (and don't ever buy) bouillion cubes or paste, but I do have quite a bit of nice, rich beef stock made with marrow bones roasted with aromatics . . . . I've never made a white Bolognese. I am certain that my family would love this!
Amanda H. February 28, 2010
Definitely! The bouillon cube is just a cheat used by the person who taught me the recipe.
JKG February 24, 2010
made this tonight - my boyfriend fell in love with me all over again! So delicious! Perfect for a stormy night.
Amanda H. February 28, 2010
Glad it was such a success!
merrygourmet September 20, 2009
Excellent recipe. Made it tonight - very rich, well-seasoned sauce. Definitely made more than four servings. This is going on my "save to make again" list!
Amanda H. September 24, 2009
Thrilled you liked it!
Pam R. July 24, 2009
I LOVE this recipe -- I make it all winter long for family or cozy dinner parties.
Amanda H. July 24, 2009
Glad to hear! Tad requests it every year for his birthday dinner.