GUACAMOLE with Blue Cheese

MY MEAT SAUCE with Rigatoni and Burrata

Rich, meaty, saucy, deliciousness, happily hugging perfectly al dente Rigatoni, that has been strewn with decadently creamy pieces of torn Burrata.  And it's easy peasy to make. Oh me oh my oh!


I love meat sauce.  Really though, doesn't everyone?  Way back when, my Mom made the best meat sauce, in the whole wide world.  So, of course, even as a kid, I was a quick and eager study.  And now, in turn, I make a pretty damn good meat sauce, if I do say so myself. 

I've been making this recipe, or a very close-to-this version, for about 5 decades. Yikes!

Now, I know almost every family has their revered recipe for the best meat sauce.  But that's one of the great things about any meat sauce recipe.  We can adjust whatever is in the recipe, to best suit our own tastes.  Same same here.

At our house, we usually have meat sauce and spaghetti with shavings of fresh Parm.  Or, one of my old-time faves.  Hot spaghetti on my plate, generous sprinkling of grated old cheddar on top of the spaghetti, crowned with a hefty ladleful of freshly made meat sauce, so the cheddar gets all melty.  Happiness is.....

But this time around I wanted to mix things up a bit, so got some good quality rigatoni and Burrata, at my favorite local Italian market, Valoroso.  Both brought in from Italy, of course. 

Because Burrata is best eaten within just a few days of being made, the smarty pants makers of this particular Burrata quick freeze each 'ball', within hours of production.  And that's how it's shipped to Canada, and in turn sold, from the freezer, at the Italian deli.  Cool!

Burrata is an Italian cow milk cheese (sometimes buffalo) made from mozzarella and cream.  The outer casing is solid cheese, while the inside contains stracciatella, and cream, giving it an unusual soft texture.  Stracciatella is cheese produced from buffalo milk, in southern Italy. 

And it all comes together in this little sack of glorious, creamy, texture-y, deliciousness. So what's a girl to do, but tear it up and throw it on some freshly made rigatoni and meat sauce.  Then drizzle the best damn olive oil over top, and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.  Mamma Mia!

My Meat Sauce has mostly the usual cast of characters.  But never you mind if one or two of them are quirky!  Quirky is interesting, and can be damn delicious.  And not only that, your kitchen will smell damn delicious when this meat sauce is gently simmering, on a back burner.  Che Bello!


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MY MEAT SAUCE with Rigatoni and Burrata ~ Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small sweet onion, diced
1 pound lean ground beef
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 - 28 ounce can whole plum tomatoes, buzzed with immersion blender
1/4 cup water
2 heaping tablespoons ketchup
1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried basil - or 1 tablespoon fresh
1 teaspoon dried oregano - or 1 tablespoon fresh
2 tablespoons butter

1 pound rigatoni
Salt for cooking rigatoni
1 200 gram drained Burrata
Drizzles of top quality olive oil
Sprinkles of freshly ground black pepper
Italian parsley - optional

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large-ish saucepan, over medium-high heat; add onion and cook for 4 minutes.  Add beef, salt, pepper and garlic, stirring occasionally, about 8-12 minutes until meat is cooked.  Adjust heat as necessary.

Add buzzed tomatoes and water; stir, stir.  Add ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, chili powder, basil and oregano.  Bring to a soft boil, turn heat to medium low, or low, so the sauce juuuust simmers.  Simmer gently 1 hour.  Can be made ahead.

Bring a large pot filled with water to a boil, over high heat.  Generously salt water and return to boil.  Add rigatoni and cook until al dente. Drain and return pasta to pot, over very low heat. 

Just before adding the hot meat sauce to the pasta, stir 2 tablespoons of butter into the sauce, so it shines.  Add meat sauce to the pasta, and stir to completely coat rigatoni with that delicious meat sauce.  Scoop into serving dish.  Right away tear Burrata into pieces and randomly place over hot pasta.  Drizzle Burrata with top quality olive oil and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper, and maybe some Italian parsley.  Serve immediately, with a cheeky grin.  And that, my friends, is Amore!