Paul Horton's Bolognese and Pasta (well, his mother-in law's)

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Here's the thing, this is my favorite holiday meal my mother-in-law makes. I never knew there were this many things in it. No wonder I loved it so much. Now I appreciate it even more! 

6 oz. pancetta, finely diced
5 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup finely chopped onion
2/3 cup finely chopped celery
2/3 cup finely chopped carrots 
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup hot water
1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
2 cups whole milk
Fresh nutmeg
1 1/2 cup dry white wine
2 28-oz. cans Italian tomatoes, whole, diced or crushed

Cook the pancetta in a large Dutch oven until browned. Don’t drain. Add the butter with the onion, carrots and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic. Chop the softened mushrooms and add. Save the mushroom liquid, and strain through a coffee filter. Add this liquid to the vegetable mixture.

Add the ground beef and ground pork. Season with salt and pepper. Crumble the meat and cook until no pink remains.

Add the 2 cups whole milk and let simmer, stirring frequently, until it has simmered away completely. Be patient, this can take a while. Add a tiny grating of fresh nutmeg, about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon.

Add the wine and simmer until it has evaporated, and then add the tomatoes with their juices.

When the mixture begins to bubble, turn down so it cooks at a very low simmer. Cook uncovered for 2-3 hours. If it begins to dry out, add 1/2 cup beef broth or water if necessary.

If needed, add salt to taste.

Serve with freshly grated Parmesan and pasta such as tagliatelle, pappardelle or fettuccine.

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