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  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 servings


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling over finished pasta dish
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 ¼ cups onion, chopped extremely fine
  • 1 ¼ cups celery, chopped extremely fine
  • 1 ¼ cups carrots, shredded on a box grater
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds ground chuck (I ground my own by cutting up a chuck roast and grinding)
  • 1 pound ground bison (If you do not want to use bison, use an additional pound of ground chuck)
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 full 750 ml bottle white wine, such as Chardonnay (about 3 ¼ cups)
  • 1 ½ cups whole milk
  • ½ cup light cream
  • 1 28-ounce can San Marzano ground plum tomatoes, such as Pastene brand or Cento
  • 2 bay leaves
  • About 2 cups water, used as needed
  • 1 pound dry Linguini
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving


  1. Before you begin, be prepared to take your time with this dish to build the flavors and texture. You can not just put everything in and expect to get positive results. It takes time to follow each step to produce an excellent finished sauce.
  2. Using a heavy bottomed 5 ½ quart non-stick sauté pan, heat oil and 4 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat until melted. Increase heat to high and add onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally so it does not burn, for 5-10 minutes or until the vegetables start to caramelize and brown.
  3. Add chuck, bison, pork, salt, pepper, nutmeg and thyme. Stir and cook over high for an additional 5-10 minutes or until meat is cooked through and starting to brown. Again, be careful not to burn.
  4. Add tomato paste and all of the wine and stir to combine. Once it starts to bubble, reduce to a medium simmer and cook until the wine has evaporated, about 20 minutes.
  5. Increase heat to medium high and add milk and cream and again once it starts to bubble, reduce to a medium simmer and cook until the milk and cream have almost evaporated, about 20 minutes.
  6. Add tomatoes and bay leaf, along with ½ cup of water. Bring to a very low simmer, just barely bubbling.
  7. Cook for a full three hours uncovered adding another ½ cup of water, about every 30 – 45 minutes as the mixture starts to dry out.
  8. The fat will separate as it cooks so each time you add water, stir the mixture. During the last 30 minutes, do not add any more water. By 2 ½ hours, you should have added a total of about 2 cups of water.
  9. During the last 30 minutes, heat a large pot of water seasoned heavily with salt. About ten minutes before the three hours is up, cook pasta to just under done. Ladle out about ½ cup of the salty pasta water and add to the sauce.
  10. Drain the pasta.
  11. Add the remaining two tablespoons of butter to the sauce and remove from the heat.
  12. Remove and discard the bay leaves, taste the sauce and add additional salt or pepper if needed. Make sure you do this after the salty pasta water gets added.
  13. Place the pasta back into the pasta pot and add about half of the sauce to the pasta. Heat over medium until the pasta is perfectly cooked.
  14. Pour the pasta out into a serving large bowl, top with a little more sauce, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top.
  15. Serve the remaining sauce on the side with additional Parmesan cheese.