Beef Ragu Chiantigiana
(makes 12 servings and freezes perfectly)
4 T olive oil
4 T butter
1 large onion, chopped
6 carrots, chopped
6 ribs celery, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 lbs ground beef
fresh or dried rosemary, chopped
fresh or dried oregano
fresh sage, chopped
1/2 bottle red wine (about 2 cups*)
two 28 oz. cans chopped tomatoes, drained
3 cups whole milk
splash of red wine vinegar
2 T capers (optional)
+ your favorite cooked pasta
* I use a full bottle, but the extra liquid necessitates a longer cook time b/c the liquid haste reduce more… If you have the time and patience, I recommend using a full bottle as the flavor will be even more rich.
Heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat in a large, heavy saucepan or soup pot. Add onions, carrots and celery. Season with salt and pepper and cook until soft and lightly browned. Add garlic, ground beef and herbs. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is thoroughly cooked. Add red wine, chopped tomatoes, whole milk, a splash of red wine vinegar and capers. Lower heat to medium (or medium low, if it's splattering too much!) until the sauce is at a gentle simmer and cook for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours, stirring occasionally. I keep the lid off when simmering the sauce. Toss with your favorite pasta and serve with grated Parmesan if you like.
This sauce freezes perfectly, so package any remaining sauce in the size containers that will be useful to you. Simply thaw the sauce in the fridge and then heat it in a saucepan.