- What you need
- 2 Carrots
- 2 Celery Stalks
- 1/2 Large Onion
- 1lb. Ground Round
- 12oz Tomato Paste
- 3 Cups Red Wine (Zinfandel)
- 3-4 Cups Water
- 1/2 Cup Fresh Parmesan Grated
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 1 tbs Thyme
- 1 lb Corn or Rice Pasta (You can use regular pasta as well)
- Fresh Mozzarella
- Fresh Parsley
- Salt, Salt, Salt
This is one of those indulgent and comforting meals that brings everyone to the table. Tonight was one of those nights when there was absolutely no trace of leftovers despite the fact that I made more than enough for all of us. This dish is a labor of love and time, you will need a few hours to get it all together, but believe me it will be worth every second.
This is one of the dishes that needs a lot of attention and seasoning throughout the cooking process. Salt is going to be your best friend when building this dish up, if you normally hold back on it then this may be time to give up that habit.
Combine the carrots, celery and onion in a food processor and mix until it is almost a paste. In a large pan over medium high heat add a tablespoon of oil and the vegetable mixture, you are going to want to stir this every couple minutes to make sure it does not burn. The goal is to get all of the water out of vegetables and create a dark brown crust on the bottom of pan.
Once you start to notice a brown crust forming on the bottom of your pan you can add the ground round. Make sure to liberally salt the meat and vegetables at this stage. Brown the meat heavily, again you want to build that brown crust on the bottom of the pan. You will need to cook the beef for at least 10-15 minutes in order for this to happen.
When the meat is well browned add in your tomato paste…guess what we are going to do again That’s right, we are going to continue browning. After about 10 more minutes you should start seeing the bottom of your pan turn almost black in color. This is where most of the flavor will come from in this dish.
Now you will need to add your wine, when you do make sure to scrape the bottom of the pan. The wine will help everything deglaze and those flavors will melt into everything else. You want your wine to reduce by at least half, honestly I believe the more it reduces the better.
Next add enough water to cover the meat by about an inch, reduce the heat to a simmer. Add your thyme, bay leaves, and more salt to taste.
Here is the best part, you can now leave it undisturbed for an hour or two until most of the water is gone. Once the sauce is complete remove about half of it and set it off to the side. Cook your pasta until it is about 5 minutes from being cooked. Transfer the pasta to the pan and add a ladle of the pasta water, turn the heat up to medium and cook for 5 minutes. Toss in some shredded Parmesan, about 1/2 cup and a few tablespoons of olive oil.
Transfer the pasta to a large baking dish and top with fresh mozzarella, bake this at 400 for 10 minutes. To get some browning on the cheese you can turn the broiler on for a few minutes at the end.
Top with some fresh chopped parsley and prepare to be amazed!