I rarely meet a pasta dish I don’t like, but my all time favorite is anything with a bolognese sauce. Around Chicago, it doesn’t get much better than the bolognese at Fred’s and Coco Pazzo (I’ve done the legwork), but it occurred to me the other day that this heaven-sent sauce isn’t something I’ve ever really tried to make at home. Enter this recipe for Pablano Bolognese Pasta from Tasting Table. Peter and I decided to double the recipe so we’d have leftovers to freeze, which ended up being an awesome idea because it’s delicious. Too good not to share! We made the sauce in the evening for dinner, but in the future I think it’s something I’ll make ahead of time as the flavor only gets better after a day or two. Also, while I was tempted to just throw it on whatever pasta we already had and top it with our usual grocery store parmesan cheese- I’m so glad I went the extra mile and picked up fresh fettuccine and a good block of Parmigiano-Reggiano to grate at home. The sauce tastes so special and homemade, that those extra touches really put it over the edge!
Poblano Bolognese Pasta
2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
1 medium yellow onion, roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound ground beef chuck
1 cup dry white wine
1 14-ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, undrained, crushed using your hands
3 bay leaves
2 tsp nutmeg
3 sprigs thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 1/2 pounds fresh fettuccine
3 tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 poblano pepper, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
1. Place the carrot, onion, and celery in a food processor and pulse until the vegetables have completely broken down. Transfer to a medium bowl and set aside.
2. In a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the beef and cook, stirring until the beef has browned and fat has rendered, about 15 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate and pour any excess grease out of the pot.
3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pot and place over medium heat. Add the minced vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 15 minutes. Add the wine and reduce by half, about 10 minutes. Add the reserved beef to the pot, along with the tomatoes, bay leaves, nutmeg, and thyme. Season with salt and pepper and simmer, covered (leaving the lid ajar) until the flavors have melded and the sauce’s texture becomes velvety, about 1 hour. Remove and discard the bay leaves and thyme.
4. While the sauce is cooking, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 2 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
5. Meanwhile, add the butter to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 to 40 seconds. Add the poblano peppers and cook until just slightly blistered, about 2 minutes. Add the Bolognese sauce, reserved cooking water and cream and reduce for 2 minutes. Add the pasta and toss with the sauce until the pasta is well-coated, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle Parmigiano-Reggiano over the pasta, and serve. Make ahead: Cool and refrigerate the sauce for up to 4 days.