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Rigatoni with Veal Bolognese and Butternut Squash

Andrew Zimmern makes his velvety pasta sauce--a classic Italian combination of sweet squash and veal--even more luscious with a touch of cream.

  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 6 to 8

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  • 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.

Make Ahead

The Bolognese sauce can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Reheat gently before serving.

Contributed By Photo © Stephanie Meyer

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