No, not the $2.50 jar of bong water and artificially flavored tomato paste. This ragù is the real deal. In fact, between the three different meats, wine, and porcini, you may even want to fill out a DNR (“do not resuscitate”) in the event of a days-long food coma.
This is exactly the kind of dish that makes you happy for 40-degree weather, and not just because of the return of bulky, loose-fitting clothing.
It’s based on Cooks Illustrated’s “Weeknight Pasta Bolognese,” which is actually much more work than traditional, long-simmered Bologneses, but much more varied in flavor. If you have the patience, it benefits GREATLY from an overnight sit in the fridge to be reheated the next day.
With the pasta, this makes 6 servings.
• 1/2 oz. dried porcini ($4.29/oz. in bulk at the co-op): $2.15
• 1 1/4 cups Gewurtztraminer (or other sweet wine), $2.99 @ Grocery Outlet: $1.10
• 3 oz. diced prosciutto or pancetta (or other pork that’s been salt-cured but not smoked): $1.69
• 1 lb. pasta: $1.19
• 2 T tomato paste: 15 cents
• 1/2 small onion: 10 cents
• 1/2 carrot: 2 cents
• 1 garlic clove: 3 cents
• 1 1/2 T butter: 9 cents
• 1 tsp granulated sugar: 3 cents
• 1 can whole tomatoes with juice: 99 cents
• 3/4 lb. ground beef (CHEATING! I had a “spend $20, get a free pound of ground beef” coupon, which is what inspired this dish in the first place): $0
• 3/4 lb. ground boneless country-style pork ribs: $2
• 1 1/2 cups milk: 24 cents
• Grated Parmesan: 50 cents
• Salt & pepper to taste: 1 cent
TOTAL: $10.29/6= $1.71
The original recipe calls simply for “ground pork,” but because I couldn’t find any for less than $2.99 a pound at our crap-tastic local grocery store, I ended up grinding my own from pork country ribs, which is probably more authentic anyway.
As for the rest of the process, it’s extremely involved and my version doesn’t deviate dramatically enough from the one described on this site [link] (which I’m sure is 100% in compliance with copyright law and that CI is both completely aware of and co-signing its existence) to justify typing it all out. But do plan for close to twice the time called for, especially if your meats are on the fatty side, as the liquid in each step will take a bit longer to evaporate.