I haven’t done a recipe blog post in months, but I made this bowl of scrumptiousness the other night and couldn’t keep it to myself!

It’s a recipe from Andrew Zimmern in Food & Wine, and as soon as I read it, I knew it had to be Sunday dinner. This bolognese is layered, complex, luscious and indulgent. There are nuances of smokiness from the bacon, fruitiness from the wine and sweetness from the butternut squash. But what stands out, amazingly, is the delicate veal flavor.

My whole family was, quite simply, blown away. And it takes a lot to blow us away culinarily. They can’t wait for me to make it again, and when I do, I will be sure to make extra to freeze. That will make for the best weeknight surprise as we get into cold weather season and we’re all craving something warm, hearty and delish.

Rigatoni with Veal Bolognese and Butternut Squash

By Andrew Zimmern, from


    • 2 thick-cut slices of bacon, minced
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1/2 cup minced carrot
    • 1/2 cup minced celery
    • 1/2 cup minced onion
    • 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
    • Kosher salt
    • 1 pound ground veal
    • 1 sage sprig
    • 1 parsley sprig
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
    • 1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
    • 1 cup dry red wine
    • One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
    • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
    • 1/2 medium butternut squash—peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch dice (3 cups)
    • 1/4 cup heavy cream
    • Freshly ground white pepper
    • 1 pound rigatoni
    • Finely chopped thyme, for garnish


1. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, cook the bacon in the oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic and a generous pinch of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the ground veal, sage, parsley, bay leaf, oregano and basil and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no pink remains, about 8 minutes.

2. Add the wine to the casserole and cook, stirring, until nearly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices and cook, stirring, until the liquid has reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly reduced, about 8 minutes. Stir in the squash and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the squash is tender, about 25 minutes. Discard the sage, parsley and bay leaf. Stir in the heavy cream and season the sauce with salt and white pepper; keep warm over very low heat.

3. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain well and transfer the pasta to deep bowls. Spoon the sauce over the pasta, garnish with thyme and serve.

The Bolognese sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days; reheat gently before serving. It also freezes beautifully.

Serves 4-5

Leave a Reply