Pumpkin Bolognese w/ Pappardelle Pasta

Serves: 6-8


  • 1/4 cup olive oil or butternut squash seed oil

  • 2 Tbsp butter

  • 1 medium onion, minced

  • 2 cups celery, small dice

  • 1 medium carrot, minced

  • 5 large garlic cloves, minced

  • 3/4 pound ground beef (80/20)

  • 3/4 pound ground pork

  • 4 ounces bacon or pancetta, chopped into small cubes (optional)

  • If omitting bacon/pancetta, season vegetables with 1- 1 1/2 Tbs kosher salt

  • 1 cup fine-to-medium-diced fresh pumpkin (about 1/4 of a small-ish sized pumpkin, or butternut squash)

  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree

  • 2 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • 2 cups dry white wine

  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg

  • 1 pound pappardelle wide noodles

  • Finely grated Pecorino cheese, for serving

  • Pepitas, for serving

  • Chopped fresh parsley, for serving (optional)

  • 1-1 1/2 pounds cooked pappardelle noodles (Available here at Olive Obsession)


Heat butter and oil in a large stock pot. Add garlic, celery, onion, carrots and bacon or pancetta (add salt to taste if omitting bacon/pancetta).. Cook over medium-low heat until onion is see through. Joanie says, "add beef and crumble well by mashing with potato masher until fine, and until beef looks “grainy.” This takes time, but is the key to having a smooth sauce."

Add wine and continue to mash until beef has lost its red color. Simmer over low heat until wine is mostly reduced. Add milk and nutmeg, then simmer for 20 minutes. Add tomatoes, diced pumpkin, pumpkin puree' and simmer on low for four hours, continuing to stir frequently. Sauce should be thick.

Cook noodles to package instructions. (TIP: Ladle out 1 cup of pasta water and set aside; If the sauce has become too thick, add small amounts of the reserved pasta water.) In a saucepan, add drained noodles with bolognese and stir until evenly coated. Just before serving, top with grated Pecorino cheese and chopped parsley.

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