Bluebeard is a great (somewhat lesser known) French folktale. In this epic fable, an evil, wealthy yet ugly man somehow convinces young, pretty ladies to marry him. One after one, each of his wives mysteriously vanish, never to be seen or heard from again. One weekend when Bluebeard takes a little trip out of town, wifey #7 decides to do a bit of snooping around the castle. What she found was exactly where wives #1-6 had been disappearing to -- Bluebeard's dungeon of death, of course. Deciding she would try to escape the same fate, #7 decided to flee the castle, but before she could, Bluebeard returned early from his getaway. Lucky for her, just as she is about to join the rest of her sister-wives, she is miraculously saved by her brothers – who kill Bluebeard. She then inherits his castle and all of his money (which she shares generously shares with her siblings, of course).
You might be curious about our reason for sharing this short tale. Recently, the ladies of 3SE dined at a restaurant who's namesake just so happened to be the famed Bluebeard. While we enjoyed learning this story of historic female revenge, we enjoyed the last course of our meal – casarecce bolognese, just slightly more.
4 tbsp. butter
4 oz. cubed pancetta
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. ground pork
1 - 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup stock
1/2 cup milk
dash of nutmeg
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Melt butter in a large cast iron pot. Stir in pancetta and let it cook for five minutes on medium heat. Stir in the chopped onion, garlic, carrot and celery. Let cook until the veggies are tender and beginning to caramelize.
Turn the heat to medium-high and add the ground beef and pork, breaking it up as it cooks. Let the mixture cook in the pan for 5 minutes or so, until the meat begins to brown. Stir to combine and break up the meat, and continue cooking until meat is cooked through. Add the tomatoes, red wine, stock and dash of nutmeg to the pan, along with a dash of salt and pepper. Let the mixture come to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down so that the sauce simmers, and partially cover the pan with a lid. Let the sauce simmer for an hour or so, stirring occasionally and tasting to adjust seasoning. If the mixture becomes dry, add more stock (or water) and stir to combine. After an hour or so, add the milk and stir to combine. Let the sauce cook for 15-20 more minutes, adjusting seasoning as needed.
Serve over cooked fettuccine with lots of grated parmesan.