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Pappardelle alla Bolognese

At my second full-fledged chef’s position at the Galleria Italiana in Boston, the owners were two women from Abruzzi. While I was familiar with the classic version of Ragù alla Bolognese—chopped beef, carrots, celery, onions, and tomatoes—I noticed that Rita and Marisa added chicken livers to their version. When I started making my own Bolognese sauce for pappardelle, I used a combination of veal, pork, and lamb instead of beef for an even more complex flavor. I also kept Rita and Marisa’s chicken livers in the recipe and added some sweet Italian sausage because my grandmother used it in her Sunday ragù to deepen and enrich the sauce’s flavor.–Ron and Colleen Suhanosky

LC Title Envy Note

We know how important titles are to most folks. So we wanted to explain what the title of the book from which this recipe hails, Pasta Sfoglia, means. See, sfoglia is the Italian word for leaf or sheet. In this context, it refers to an uncut sheet of pasta. (The plural is sfoglie.) Quiz on Tuesday. And please note that while fresh pappardelle cut moments ago from large sheets of pasta is best fresh, the Bolognese sauce, on the other hand, is arguably at its best when it is made in advance and the flavors allowed to meld overnight. Thank heavens for small mercies.

Pappardelle alla Bolognese Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 1 H
  • 3 H, 30 M
  • Makes 2 batches, serving 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • For the Bolognese
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed or other mild vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pound chicken livers, puréed in a food processor until smooth
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 cup full-bodied red wine
  • One 28-ounce can peeled whole San Marzano tomatoes
  • 3 cups cold water, swirled in the emptied out tomato can
  • For the pappardelle
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Rice flour, for dusting
  • For finishing the pasta dish
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup pasta cooking water
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, optional garnish

Directions

  • Make the Bolognese
  • 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • 2. Heat the grapeseed oil in a large heavy-bottomed, ovenproof casserole over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add the garlic and chicken livers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pink disappears from the livers. Add the sausages and break them up with a wooden spoon. Cook until the pink disappears from the sausage. Add the rosemary, pork, lamb, and veal and stir continuously to combine. Cook until the pink completely disappears from all the meats, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add the red wine and reduce for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil.
  • 3. Place the casserole in the oven and cook, uncovered, for 3 hours. Stir from time to time. It’s important to fold the top of the mixture into the bottom to ensure the marriage of flavors. Let cool. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
  • Make the pappardelle
  • 4. Add the all-purpose flour, eggs, extra-virgin olive oil, and salt to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse several times until the dough resembles medium crumbs.
  • 5. Turn the dough onto a clean, dry, rice flour–dusted work surface. Gather the dough together and knead it until it comes together and is smooth and elastic. Cover the pasta dough with a kitchen towel or plastic film and let rest for at least 10 minutes or up to 2 hours. (The dough, tightly wrapped with plastic film, can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 2 weeks. Defrost in the refrigerator. The dough will discolor slightly, but its flavor will not be affected).

    Roll and cut the pasta for pappardelle with an electric pasta maker:

    Divide the pasta dough into 3 equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a disk and dust with rice flour.

    Set the roller of the electric pasta maker at number 1. Feed the disks, one at a time, through the roller three times. Fold each end of the dough to meet in the middle and press down on the middle to seal. Feed the open side of the dough through the roller three times. Fold the ends to meet in the middle and press down to seal.

    Adjust the setting to number 2. Feed the open side of the dough through the roller twice.

    Adjust the setting to number 3. Feed the dough through the roller twice. The pasta sheet will be quite long now. Cut it in half and feed each half through the roller once more. Dust each sheet with rice flour and layer one on top of the other.

    I like to hand-cut both pappardelle and fettuccine. For either cut, layer 3 pasta sheets at a time, placing the longest piece on the bottom. Roll up into a loose roll. For pappardelle, cut each roll into 1-inch-wide pieces. For fettuccine, cut each roll into 1/4-inch-wide pieces. Loosen the rolls and stretch out the ribbons on a baking sheet. Dust with more rice flour. If you aren’t going to use the pasta right away, cover it with a slightly dampened kitchen towel to keep it from drying out. Do not refrigerate— the ribbons will stick together.

    Roll and cut the pasta for pappardelle with a hand crank pasta maker:

    Proceed as directed for the electric pasta maker, with a few subtle changes. At setting number 1, fold the dough and feed it through the roller three times. On number 2, feed the dough through three times, and on number 3, three times. On number 4, cut the pasta sheets in half and feed each piece through the roller three times. On number 5, feed each sheet through once. Then cut into pappardelle, tagliatelle, or fettuccine as described for the electric pasta maker.
  • Finish the dish
  • 6. Remove the Bolognese sauce from the refrigerator.
  • 7. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Remove the rosemary from the Bolognese sauce. Add 4 cups of the sauce to a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the cream, salt, and pepper and bring to a simmer. (The remaining quart of sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 2 months. To freeze in smaller portions, place the sauce in 1/2-pint or pint containers. When serving, adjust the cream and other seasonings accordingly.)
  • 8. Add the pappardelle to the boiling water. Cook until the strands float to the top, then glance at the clock and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove 1/2 cup pasta water from the pot and add it to the sauce. (Adding the pasta water to the sauce ensures a good marriage between pasta and sauce. When the cooked pasta is added to the sauce, it will absorb the extra pasta water, not the sauce, leaving the sauce to coat the pasta.) Use a wire-mesh skimmer or tongs to remove the pasta from the pot and dump it directly into the skillet with the sauce. Stir or toss to evenly coat the pappardelle with the sauce. Serve immediately with a garnish of Parmesan cheese, if desired.
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