Beef Rigatoni with Sausage Meatballs (slow cooked)

Time: 8 hours

You will be torn apart when you make this recipe – so good, but a labour of love with the 8 hours of cooking. But so worth the time (it is not a lot of effort), but a few pots/pans to wash afterwards!

Music Selection: Natalie Imruglia – Torn


1 duck or Cornish hen backbone (with some meat on preferably) – optional, but really adds some depth to flavours

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

1 carrot, peeled and grated or coined

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 oz pancetta (hot/spicy if you can find it), diced

½ cup red wine

2 – 28 oz (796 ml) can of crushed tomatoes

½ cup beef broth

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp red pepper flakes

1 kg rigatoni (fresh or dried)

1 lb ground beef


1 lb Italian sausage meat (mild) – casing removed

½ lb (2 sausages) hot Italian sausage, casing removed

2 Tbsp dried parsley, finely chopped

2 Tbsp parmesan cheese, grated



 6 cups fresh arugula

1 clove garlic

Olive oil


In large pot, fry the pancetta and the duck/Cornish hen back bones.

Add in ground beef and cook until browned.

Add in the onions, celery, carrot and garlic. Saute until soft.

Add in the oregano, wine, beef broth and tomato sauce. Add dried red chili pepper flakes.

Cover and let cook for another 6 hours, stirring from time to time.

In meantime, in large bowl, mix the sausage meat, parsley, egg and cheese. Form into meatballs.

After the sauce has cooked 6 hours, remove the duck bones (they may be in smaller pieces).

Gently place the meatballs on top of the sauce. Let cook for 30 minutes.

In the meantime, in a large pot full of salted water, bring it to a boil and cook the rigatoni according to the package. Drain and drizzle with oil until ready to serve.

In large skillet, heat some oil and saute the garlic. Throw on the arugula to let it wilt. Salt/pepper.

To serve, place rigatoni in a pasta bowl (individual size). Top with beef sauce and meatballs. Top with additional parmesan cheese and some of the wilted argula. Enjoy with a wonderful Italian wine!

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