The Ultimate Meat Sauce: Pasta alla Genovese

Are you ready to experience the most mouthwatering and flavorful meat sauce you’ve never heard of? Introducing Pasta alla Genovese, a traditional Italian dish that originated in Naples but is named after Genoa. Despite its questionable origins, this sauce is a staple in Italian-American cuisine and will leave you craving more.

The Ultimate Meat Sauce: Pasta alla Genovese
The Ultimate Meat Sauce: Pasta alla Genovese

An Unforgettable Combination of Flavors

The secret to a perfect Pasta alla Genovese lies in its simplicity. The key ingredients are salt pork or pancetta, beef chuck, and a ton of onions—yes, you read that right, a ton of onions. The combination of these three main ingredients creates a symphony of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds.

To start, render the salt pork or pancetta in a pot with some olive oil until it’s beautifully browned and the fat has rendered out. Transfer the pork to a bowl and reserve it for later. Next, brown the beef chuck in the rendered fat until it’s nicely caramelized. Add diced carrots, celery, black pepper, salt, and the reserved cooked pork to the pot, and cook for a few minutes until the vegetables soften.

Now it’s time to deglaze the pot by adding a small squirt of tomato paste and a splash of white wine—this step adds a touch of acidity and enhances the color of the sauce. Stir to deglaze the bottom of the pot and add the showstopper: an abundance of sliced onions. The onions will cook down and caramelize beautifully over time, so make sure to use a large pot to accommodate all of them.

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Cover the pot and let the magic happen. Cook the sauce covered for 30 minutes, then give it a good stir and cover it back up for another 30 minutes. At this point, you might be thinking the sauce is ready, but you’re in for a surprise. This is where the slow cooking process begins. Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 8 to 10 hours. That’s right, hours! The long cooking time allows the beef and onions to break down completely and meld together, creating a rich and velvety texture.

The Reward: Pasta alla Genovese

After simmering for what feels like an eternity, your Pasta alla Genovese is ready to be enjoyed. The flavors have deepened, and the beef and onions have transformed into a luscious sauce that coats the pasta perfectly. Cook your favorite pasta, such as rigatoni, until it’s slightly undercooked. Heat some of the sauce in a pan, add the partially cooked pasta, and finish cooking it in the sauce. The pasta will absorb the flavors of the meat sauce, creating a harmonious union.

Once the pasta is cooked, turn off the heat and stir in freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or pecorino cheese. This will add a rich and nutty flavor to the dish. Transfer the pasta to a bowl, sprinkle more cheese on top, and if desired, garnish with fresh herbs like marjoram or parsley.

Your Journey to Pasta Perfection

Pasta alla Genovese is a labor of love—the long cooking time is well worth the wait. The sauce develops a deep, complex flavor that will transport you to the streets of Naples or the kitchens of Italian-American grandmothers. Don’t be intimidated by the amount of onions or the time it takes to cook; the result is pure culinary bliss.

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Are you ready to embark on this flavor-packed adventure? Visit Hook’d Up Bar and Grill for more cooking inspiration and to explore the world of mouthwatering recipes. Get your apron on, gather your ingredients, and prepare to savor the ultimate meat sauce, Pasta alla Genovese.

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