This is a perfect recipe for a lazy Sunday when time is on your side. You start with a few ingredients and then you forget about it for a few hours, let it simmer and develop the most amazing rich flavors, until you’re left with a deliciously rich Ragu. This recipe can be substituted with ground beef if that’s all you can find.
3 Tablespoons olive oil
4 small carrots, peeled and finely diced
2 celery ribs, peeled and finely diced
1 large red onion, very finely diced
3 garlic cloves, grated
1 1/2 tablespoons whole fennel seeds, ground in a spice grinder or with a mortar-and-pestle
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 pounds of lamb, casings removed
1/2 pound of meatball mix (equal parts ground beef, and veal)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Red pepper flakes
1/2 (750-milliliter) bottle dry red wine
2 (28-ounce) cans whole San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
2 long hot Italian peppers, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
4 bay Leaves
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or other large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the carrots, celery, and onion and cook until the vegetables have softened and the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, fennel, and oregano and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until darkened in color, 1 to 2 minutes.
Stir in the sausage and meatball mix, stirring and breaking up with a spoon. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of pepper flakes and continue stirring until the meat has lost almost all its pink. Stir in the wine and cook until it is reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, peppers, Worcestershire sauce, and bay leaves and bring everything to a boil over . Reduce the heat to medium so that the sauce is just gently bubbling.
Cook for 2 hours or until the sauce is your desired thickness, stirring occasionally. Finish with a splash of balsamic and stir well to combine. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper .