I had my doubts when making this sauce for the first time. The milk really seamed out of place but it turned out great & has become one of our cold weather favorites. This is a hearty sauce that begs for a loaf of crusty bread and a nice glass of wine.
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 tablespoons minced carrot
2 tablespoons minced celery
3/4 pound meatloaf mix or 1/4 pound each ground beef chuck, ground veal, and ground pork
Salt to taste
1 cup whole milk
1 cup dry white wine
2 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes with their juice
1 pound fresh or dried fettuccine
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Heat 3 tablespoons butter in large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery and sauté until softened but not browned, about 6 minutes. Add ground meat and 1/2 teaspoon salt; crumble meat into tiny pieces with edge of wooden spoon. Cook, continuing to crumble meat, just until it loses its raw color but has not yet browned, about 3 minutes.
2. Add milk and bring to a simmer; continue to simmer until milk evaporates and only clear fat remains, 10 to 15 minutes. Add wine and bring to a simmer; continue to simmer until wine evaporates, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Add tomatoes and their juice and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low so that sauce continues to simmer just barely, with occasional bubble or two at surface, until liquid has evaporated, about 3 hours (if lowest burner setting is too high to allow very low simmer, use flame tamer-see right). Adjust seasonings with salt to taste. Keep sauce warm. (The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for several days or frozen for several months. Warm over low heat before serving.)
3. Bring 4 quarts water to rolling boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain pasta, leaving some water dripping from noodles. Toss with sauce and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Distribute among individual bowls and serve immediately, passing Parmesan cheese separately.