I traveled to Italy in 2010 and spent three weeks tasting everything in sight! The first meal I had in Tuscany was Pappardelle Bolognese. I enjoyed it so much that I ordered it at two more restaurants during my week in Tuscany. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve made pappardelle Bolognese over the last three years. It is warm and comforting and you just want to keep eating it forever. The rich aromas with which it fills the kitchen certainly keep you craving more. It’s one of those dishes that you throw together in one big pot and then let it simmer for hours to get all those flavors mingling and marrying and doing that fabulous dance on your stove top. When I’m making this for a party, I cook it all in the morning, transfer it to my slow cooker and leave it, loosely covered, on the warm setting all day. (I may or may not dip chunks of torn baguette into it throughout the day.)
I served this as the main dish for a pasta party about a year ago, and I finally decided to share the recipe with you today. Pappardelle Bolognese is perfect for this time of year. It only takes 1 pot and about 20 minutes to prepare. After that, you can let it simmer anywhere from 1 hour to all day long. Throw it all in your slow cooker for extra ease. This recipe makes a large amount so it’s great for a party, potluck, or large family dinner. It’s also warm, comforting and filling, which is exactly what the winter time calls for. You can serve it like a chili with bread, or over pasta, which is my favorite. If you make the pasta yourself it’s is even more delicious.
Just because I love this audience so much, here are a few party tips for you!
-Set your table way ahead of time. If you can get away with it, set your table the night before. This just makes less work for you the closer it gets to party time. Plus, if you do this step far in advance then you can have fun doing it instead of it turing into a rushed chore.
-Set your cheese platter out about 1 hour before party time. If you’re not including anything with a strong scent, then you can assemble your cheese plate several hours before the party, cover it, and store it in the refrigerator.
-Open your bottles of red wine and decant them, or leave them bottled, and place them on your serving area about 1 hour before party time. Do this at the same time as you set out your cheese plate. If you’re serving white wine, open it and set it out 20 minutes before party time.
-Do cooking prep up to 1 day ahead of time! If your recipe calls for chopped, diced, or sliced vegetables, do this step the day before, or at least the morning of, the party. Store them in separate containers in the refrigerator until ready to use. This way when it’s time to cook you can jump right into the cooking. If you’re chopping potatoes or apples, cover them with water to store, then pat dry before cooking.
-Candles are beautiful and magical. Put some on your table as a centerpiece, on your serving area to add some soft light to the food, and placed around the house to add a nice ambience to the entire evening.
If you have any questions about party planning, or need additional help, please leave a comment below and I’ll help you out! If you want to learn to make this pasta dish from someone who has had the immense joy of cooking in Italy, then sign up for a cooking class!
- 4 ounces pancetta, diced
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 1 large celery stalk, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 15 ounce can tomato puree (no added salt or seasoning)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
- 1 small stem fresh rosemary, finely chopped, about 1 teaspoon
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1-2 cups beef broth
- Place a large sauce pot over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook until crispy. Remove the meat from the pot and reserve, leaving the rendered fat in the pot.
- Add the onions, carrot and celery to the pot and cook until soft and translucent,about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.
- Push the vegetables to the sides of the pot and add the tomato paste to the center. Stir the tomato paste around the center of the pot for about 30 seconds, then stir it into the vegetables, and cook for 1 minute.
- Add the ground meat and sauté until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes. Drain excess fat.
- Stir in the red wine and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Turn the heat to high and cook until the wine has reduced by half. The liquid should be boiling.
- Add the pancetta back to the pot, along with the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaves, oregano, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.
- Stir to combine well, reduce heat to a simmer, and cover the pot with the lid ajar. Simmer for 1-2 hours, adding beef stock as needed to reach desired consistency. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
- Serve with pappardelle pasta, preferably homemade, and fresh parmesan cheese.