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Penne with Veal Ragù

This is one of Amanda Hesser's favorite things to make after a busy day.

slideshow Fast Weekday Pastas

  • Servings: 6

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  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 3/4 pound mild pork sausage with fennel seeds, casings removed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 small fennel bulb—halved, cored and finely diced, fronds reserved
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, smashed
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup canned peeled Italian tomatoes, drained and crushed
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chopped marjoram
  • 1/2 cup beef stock or canned low-sodium broth
  • 3/4 pound penne pasta
  • A mixture of freshly grated Pecorino Romano and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving


  1. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the veal and sausage and season with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally and breaking the meat into walnut-size pieces, until just browned, about 20 minutes. Add the fennel, carrot and garlic and cook until the vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the milk and simmer until reduced by three-quarters, about 5 minutes. Add the wine, tomatoes, tomato paste and marjoram and cook until reduced by half. Add the stock, season with salt and pepper and simmer over low heat until the liquid has reduced by three-quarters, about 20 minutes.
  3. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the penne until al dente; drain. Add the penne to the veal sauce and cook over moderate heat, stirring to coat the penne with the sauce. Divide the penne among 6 bowls, sprinkle with the reserved fennel fronds and serve, passing the cheese at the table.
Contributed By Photo © William Meppem Published March 2002

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