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