This is one of those classics that has as many variations as there are cooks who make it. After much experimentation, I settled on the following. It’s not difficult, but it does take some time, so I almost always make double or triple batches to freeze. It’s not just good to use in lasagna, but as a sauce for other pasta such as fettuccine or pappardelle.
- 1 1/2 lb. ground chuck
- 1 lb. Italian (preferred) or ground pork
- 1 c. chopped onion, NOT super-sweet
- 4-8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 c. dry white wine or vermouth
- 2 c. whole milk
- 2 c. basic tomato sauce (see below) OR canned tomatoes OR tomato sauce, plus more if desired
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
a large heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add
the onions and garlic and stir to coat thoroughly. Cover the pan and
allow the vegetables to “sweat” until they are softened and
translucent, but not browned, about 5 – 10 minutes. Add the meats and
stir well to combine with the onion and garlic. Continue to cook,
chopping with a wooden spoon to break up any large lumps, until the
meat has lost any pink color. Add the wine, and continue to cook until
the wine has virtually completely evaporated, stirring frequently.
Add 1 c. of the milk and continue to cook, still stirring frequently. When the milk has almost evaporated, add the last cup of milk and continue as before. When the milk has been almost completely absorbed, add the tomato sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. You may want to add more tomato sauce, depending on what the sauce will be used for.