Rustic Bolognese with Pappardelle

Recipe Courtesy of Jennie Kelley

I chose to present a rustic bolognese for my signature dish. It's a classic dish that I like to make at dinner parties because it can be made ahead of time, which allows me to visit more with my guests. The inspiration came from traveling around and trying a variety of different chefs' bologneses, and then recreating those flavors in my home kitchen. I tweak mine by adding chicken livers, which give it a nice rustic quality, as well as a bit of cinnamon, which helps balance out some of the gaminess and spice from the crushed red pepper.

My dish usually takes hours to cook, so cooking it within an hour was an added challenge. However, I took a few shortcuts and also showed the judges I wasn't messing around by doing something easy!


  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground veal
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 3 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 6 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried herbs de Provence
  • 4 chicken livers
  • 28-ounce can peeled, crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sage
  • 1 teaspoon ground Saigon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound of pasta
  • fresh basil


  1. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Saute onions, carrots, celery, herbs de Provence and 1 tablespoon each salt and pepper for 8 minutes.

  2. Add chopped chicken livers and saute for 2 more minutes.

  3. At the same time in a large skillet, brown the 3 meats, garlic, and salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper for about 10 minutes.

  4. Skim fat from the meat and add red wine. Bring to a boil, then simmer, reducing wine by about two-thirds.

  5. Add tomatoes, stock, sage and cinnamon to the sautéed vegetables. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

  6. Bring a large, very salted pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving some of the pasta water.

  7. Once wine has reduced add wine and meat to pot with vegetables. Add heavy cream. Bring back to a boil and simmer, adding salt and pepper to taste.

  8. Place pasta in pan with the Bolognese sauce, add splash of pasta water, toss to combine.

  9. Serve pasta in a bowl topped with shaved Parmesan cheese and freshly torn basil.

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Rustic Bolognese with Pappardelle