Tuscan-style Ragu

Like most people, according to all the magazines anyway, I crave carbs when I'm stressed. Unfortunately, my willpower is...well...I have none. So lately Wednesday nights have meant pasta, which is not good for the weight loss my husband and I have supposedly committed to, but it's good for our stress levels, so we'll take it.

Last Wednesday was spaghetti night, and we topped it with a fantastically meaty Tuscan-style ragu. If we had been able to find wild boar for the sauce, we would have used that, but in Manchester, CT, ground beef had to suffice. Although it's officially spring, it hasn't totally warmed up yet, so my kitchen goddess (yes, she's a snowperson - see picture) watched over us as we cooked up this rich and hearty weeknight dinner. Mangia!

4 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped finely
1/2 red onion, chopped finely
1 carrot, chopped finely
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. lean ground beef
3/4 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons hot water
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste

Warm the olive oil over medium-high heat and saute the chopped onions and carrot until they are soft. Add the garlic and continue cooking until the onions are just beginning to caramelize. Stir in the ground beef, breaking it up as much as possible and avoiding hard clumps. Cook the meat and the vegetables together, stirring often, until the meat becomes pink. Add the wine and cook until it evaporates, about 4 minutes. Dissolve the tomato paste in the hot water, and add it to the pot, stirring very well. Simmer for 15 minutes, during which the sauce should thicken a bit. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow to simmer for at least 45 minutes, then serve over spaghetti and enjoy.

No comments: