Umami is alive in this beef and fennel ragù. Tender torn fresh pasta wears just the right amount of sauce. Each element added to the pot delivers a mysteriously harmonious and pleasing result, hungrily eaten with your closest dears.


Read my Holiday/Winter 2015 issue!

Serves 6-8

You will need:

3 strips thick-cut bacon, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, scrubbed and chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 bulb fennel, sliced
3 to 5 anchovy fillets
11⁄2 lbs grass-fed ground beef
2 tablespoons saucisson sec(dry sausage), finely diced
1  cup dry red wine
2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
1⁄2 teaspoon red chili flakes
1⁄8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1⁄8 teaspoon cinnamon
28 oz can whole plum tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 to 2 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste

  1. Over medium heat, in a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot, cook bacon until just-crispy, about 7 minutes. Drain bacon from fat and set aside.
  2. Sweat onions in bacon fat, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add carrots and celery, stir to combine, and cook for another 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
  4. Add garlic, fennel, and anchovies, making a little room at the base of the pot for the anchovies.
  5. As they begin to sizzle, break anchovies up with the edge of a wooden spoon and stir to incorporate.
  6. Add meats and bacon to pot.
  7. Sauté until lightly browned, about 5–7 minutes, stirring and breaking up meat as you did the anchovies.
  8. Add wine and scrape bottom of pot to free up any browned bits.
  9. Reduce wine by half, stirring intermittently, and then add all remaining ingredients.
  10. Give a good stir to bring the mixture together.
  11. Bring ragù to a simmer, taste and season with salt and pepper as needed, and cover.
  12. Turn heat to low so that it bubbles slowly.
  13. After 10 minutes or so, break the softened tomatoes into chunks using the edge of a wooden spoon.
  14. Cover again and simmer for another hour, or until ingredients have melded and the sauce has thickened.
  15. Season with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.
  16. Serve hot, tossed with sheets of torn fresh pasta.

TIP:

Photography by Food+styling+photography by Melina Hammer

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