OK, are you ready? You are about to meet my all time favorite pasta sauce. This sauce blew my mind the first time I made it, and has continued to, every time I’ve made it since. In fact, I usually write notes next to the recipes I try in my cookbooks, so that when I look back on them later on, I know what I need to tweak or whether or not I need to even make it again. What did I write next to this one? “The Best”. I am in love with this sauce, and I hope you’ll enjoy it too.
I started by throwing some onion, carrot, celery, and garlic into my food processor and mincing them up, nice and fine.
Once the veggies were set, I started browning up my meat on the stove. This sauce combines both ground chuck and italian sausage. As I browned them up on the stove top, I used my potato masher to stir, and break up the meat as it cooks, so that the two meats mix together entirely.
Breaking up the meat in this way ensures that the end result is consistent. Instead of running into huge chunks of meat in the sauce, the result is a fine, smooth sauce.
After the meat was browned, I added in my minced veggies and let the mixture cook together for about five minutes.
Now, here’s where the magic happens. To the meat and veggie mixture, I add some canned whole tomatoes, some red wine, whole milk, tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, salt, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes.
You may be wondering why on Earth we’d be putting milk in the sauce. Well, the milk tones down the acidity of the tomatoes. It’s amazing how smooth this sauce is when it’s complete, and I think the milk adds to that.
Once those ingredients were in, I gave it a good stir every once in a while, but left it to simmer on the stove for an hour or so.
After the sauce had simmered, I got my pasta cooked and ready, and then finished off the sauce with a bit of low-fat cream cheese and some chopped parsley.
You could use Marscapone cheese to enrich the sauce in place of the cream cheese, but I find that the cream cheese does the job perfectly and saves a few calories in the process.
Once the cream cheese and parsley were stirred in, I seasoned the sauce with just a little more salt and pepper, and we were ready to go.
You have to admit. That’s a pretty sauce.
I serve it over big tubes of rigatoni, with a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese on top. The end result is packed with so much flavor it surprises me every time. It’s deliciously hearty, but smooth with a creamy finish. Just writing about it, makes me hungry for more! I hope you enjoy it in your home as much as we do in ours.
Adapted from Cuisine at Home
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 lb. ground chuck
- ½ lb. bulk italian sausage
- ½ cup onion, chopped
- ½ cup celery, chopped
- ½ cup carrot, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. garlic, chopped
- 1 (28 oz.) can whole tomatoes
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 cup whole milk
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
- ½ cup low-fat cream cheese
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 lb. cooked rigatoni
- Place the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic in a food processor and process until the mixture is finely minced. Set the mixture aside.
- In a Dutch oven or large pot, brown the ground chuck and italian sausage in the olive oil over medium-high heat. Use a potato masher to break up the meat and stir it as you cook, to make the meat pieces as fine and smooth as possible.
- Add the minced vegetables to the meat in the pan, stir together to combine, and allow to cook until the veggies soften just a bit, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes, wine, milk, tomato paste, vinegar, and seasonings. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally. Each time you stir, break up the tomatoes with your spoon just a bit.
- Finish the sauce by stirring in the cream cheese and fresh parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve.
- Serve over cooked rigatoni.