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Playing Pacchieri alla Genovese

(Naples-style meat sauce and pasta)


  • About 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 pound pancetta, bacon or guanciale, diced
  • 2 pounds beef chuck, cut into chunks
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 ribs of celery with leafy tops, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 4 to 5 red or Tropea onions, quartered then very thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 pound pacchieri, ziti rigate or rigatoni
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons butter
  • Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


Serves: 4-6


Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add oil, 2 turns of the pan. Add pancetta and render 2-3 minutes; remove. Add beef and brown in two batches; remove. Add carrots, celery and crushed garlic, and soften 3-4 minutes. Add beef back to the pot with the bay leaf and cover with onions; season with salt and pepper, cover pot and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 2 hours until tender.

Uncover pot and reduce liquid while breaking up meat, 30-45 minutes. Add wine and simmer 15 minutes more. 

Cook pasta in boiling, salted water. Reserve 1 cup starchy cooking water then drain pasta. Toss pasta with butter, starchy water and half the sauce. Serve pasta topped with additional sauce and some grated cheese.