Oct. 25 is the global call to pasta. As if we needed any more encouragement. Celebrate with this beef and pork ragú.
On a quick trip to New York last spring, we wandered around Eataly, Batali and company’s bustling temple to all things Italian (New York magazine calls it the tourist trap locals love, too). Roaming through aisle after aisle of pastas, Marion happened on a bag of calamaro – giant, sturdy tubes named for squid. I could tell by the way she smiled as she showed me the hefty noodles that she would come up with a perfect use for them. She did.
This is what we cooked: A huge amount of very meaty ragú, with plenty of vegetables and lots of paprika, too. We simmered it all for several hours, stirring occasionally, and then served it with the calamaro we got at Eataly. Of course, this tasted even better the next day, making it ideal to prepare ahead for a cool-weather dinner. Serve it with a simple salad starter and some fresh fruit and cheese for dessert. Done.
Beef and Pork Ragú
Serves at least 6
1/2 pound ground beef
1-1/2 pounds pork loin, cut into small chunks and cubes
2 28-ounce cans diced tomatoes - don’t drain off the liquid
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
2 red bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
2 cups coarsely chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup carrot cut into thin coins
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons paprika
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons fresh chopped tarragon
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1/2 bottle dry red wine [editor's note: or substitute of your choice]
1 pound pasta (or a little more)
First, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a nonstick sauté pan. Cook the ground beef, breaking it up into small chunks until it is no longer red. Drain the beef on paper towels, then transfer to a heavy-bottomed stock pot.
Next, brown the pork on all sides in the sauté pan and add it to the big pot. Deglaze the sauté pan with a splash of red wine and pour the wine into the pot.