Veal Sugo with Papardelle and Ricotta

Chef Bridget Batson made one of the best pastas I have ever had when she and I worked at TWO, successor to Hawthorne Lane. It’s simple to make as long as you have a meat grinder. She used 100% veal breast, but I like to add a little pork for that piggy goodness. The sauce freezes well, so don’t worry about having leftover.


2 lbs. 12 oz. veal stew meat, cubed to fit through the grinder
12 oz. pork shoulder, similarly cubed
2 carrots, peeled and chopped, about 6 oz.
2 large ribs celery, chopped, about 6 oz.
3 medium large onions, peeled and chopped, about 1 1/2 lbs.
1 bunch fresh basil, about 1 oz. of leaves
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, about 1 1/2 oz. of leaves
6 large cloves garlic, about 1 1/2 oz.
1 bottle sherry wine, 750 ml
3 pints canned crushed tomatoes
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, about 3 oz.


Prepare all ingredients, then toss everything except the sherry and tomatoes together to combine.


Grind through the medium die of a meat grinder. This is a good thing to look for at garage sales and flea markets, or about $50 new.


Transfer the ground mixture to a suitable pot, and place over high heat. Lots of liquid will come out of the meat and vegetables. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking.


Reduce the heat to medium as the mixture begins to dry out, and scrap the bottom and sides to prevent burning.


Wen the mixture is completely dry, add the sherry, and return the heat to high. Scrape all of the dried liquid up into the sherry until the pan is clean, then reduce the heat to medium and reduce until the liquid is gone.


Add the canned tomatoes, I use my crushed San Marzano tomatoes, and I think that ripe tomatoes make a big difference. Look for high quality at Whole Foods.


Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and cook until the flavors come together, about a half hour. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cool and reserve until you are ready to serve. It also freezes well at this stage.


I like the little nests of dried papardelle from DeCecco, but fresh pasta sheets are better if you can find them. Cook in well-salted water as directed on the package, reserving about 3/4 cup of the pasta water, then drain and return to the pot.


Add the warm sauce and the cheese and abut 1/2 cup of the reserved pasta water. Place over medium heat, and stir gently to combine. The cheese should melt into the liquid, and the pasta should absorb most of the liquid.

Correct seasoning to taste then transfer to warm plates, and top with a generous dollop of ricotta cheese, preferably basket ricotta with a high fat content and low water content.


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David Gingrass is a food and beverage operations professional with a career spanning more than three decades. His fascination with and love for food, wine and entertaining allows him to view his work as both a vocation and an avocation. Gingrass graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York then cooked in the Bay Area for two years before landing a job at Wolfgang Puck’s original Spago Restaurant in West Hollywood. There he learned to make the signature breads and sausages that he became known for at Postrio and Hawthorne Lane. He was soon promoted to kitchen manager and managed the operational and expense control aspects of Puck’s iconic restaurant for the next four years. Gingrass returned to San Francisco in 1989 when Puck tapped him and his then-wife Anne to open Postrio, Puck’s third restaurant and his first outside of Los Angeles. Postrio opened to rave reviews and soon became the #1 popular Bay Area restaurant in the prestigious Zagat survey. Five and a half years later, the opportunity to open a restaurant of his own presented itself. Hawthorne Lane opened in 1995 and was a San Francisco dining institution for over twelve years, catering to the likes of Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, Mayor Willie Brown, James Carville, President Clinton and First Lady Hilary Clinton. He closed Hawthorne Lane at the end of its fifteen-year lease in 2009 to build a consulting practice for the hospitality industry, sharing his wealth of culinary and operational experiences with new and existing restaurants, assisting them to become successful and profitable.