When everyone is hungry and waiting to eat there isn't any time to get a photo of the plated dish. So you'll just have to take my word that this recipe is wonderful. The title is a little deceiving because this isn't exactly a white sauce in the way that a bechamel is a white sauce. I know what Lidia means by it. This isn't a heavy tomato based sauce but it does have a bit of tomato in it. The recipe calls for beef, pork and veal but I just left out the veal and used two pounds beef and one pound pork. It was a wonderful combination.
The changes I will make the next time is to definitely drain the fat out of the meat completely. I only spooned it off because I was afraid that it would be dry. It's definitely not dry and definitely does not need all that fat. The second change I would make is the type of pasta I serve this with. Lidia paired it with fresh pasta and that's what I did as well but I don't like scooping up the pasta with tongs and then needing a spoon to get the meat. I rather use a tubular shaped pasta such as rigatoni or penne. In the future I may add a little bit of nutmeg to the sauce since there is milk in it and I have learned that milk based sauces benefit from a hint of nutmeg. All in all this recipe is a winner! I hope you give it a try!
4. When the juices have disappeared, pour in the white wine, bring it to a bubbling simmer, and cook until evaporated, 2 or 3 minutes. Meanwhile, stir the tomato paste into the milk until blended. **See Michele's Note. When the wine has cooked away, pour in the milk and cook, stirring until it has cooked down.
5. Now ladle 2 cups or more of hot stock into the pan, just enough to cover the meat. Stir in the bay leaves and the remaining salt, and bring the liquid to an active simmer. Cover the pan, adjust the heat so the liquid is steadily bubbling (not rapidly boiling), and cook for 15-20 minutes, as the broth gradually reduced. Stir in about 2 more cups hot stock, just to cover the meat again, then give another 20-minute period of covered cooking and reducing. Stir in a final addition of 2 cups stock, and cook, covered until the ragu is thick and concentrated, 20 minutes or so. (The sauce should have cooked for at least an hour and incorporated 6-8 cups of stock in total.)
6. Taste the ragu and adjust the seasoning. Toss with hot pasta. ( If you've prepared the ragu in advance, let it cool, then refrigerate and freeze as you wish.)
*Here is where I would drain the fat off the pasta. Lidia said the juices will evaporate but all that fat just sits there. Instead, drain the meat and return it to the hot pan.
**I find it completely unnecessary to combine the paste with the milk. If you know a reason for this please share. I just added the tomato paste to the meat and let it cook for a minute, then I added the milk.
Click here for a printable recipe of Lidia's White Meat Sauce.