Guest Chef Paul Reilly makes Pork Bolognese for Project Angel Heart Clients

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In honor of our 25th birthday, we’ve invited guest chefs from top local restaurants to create and prepare a meal for Project Angel Heart clients. On August 16, 2016, our first guest chef, Paul C. Reilly, executive chef and co-owner of beast + bottle and Coperta, visited our kitchen to prepare the dish he created. 

When Project Angel Heart’s executive chef, Brandon Foster, asked Chef Paul Reilly if he’d help us celebrate our 25th birthday by spending a day in our kitchen, Reilly was thrilled.

“Oh, it was a no-brainer. I mean, through our restaurants we’ve always been a supporter of Project Angel Heart through events and Dining Out For Life, and when one of my good buddies asks me to come and cook with him I can’t possibly say no,” he said.


Foster gave him a few guidelines, and Reilly set out to make a recipe for Project Angel Heart clients. “I wanted to do something that was both in the style of my cuisine but also something that would be comforting,” Reilly said.

His first try didn’t pass the Project Angel Heart test- when Chef Brandon reviewed the recipe, he told Reilly to think bigger. “I was doing it in volumes that are so unheard of to me,” said Reilly. “It was a challenge, but also really exciting.” In the end, Reilly landed on a version of a comforting braised pasta sauce: pork bolognese.

He came in to the Project Angel Heart kitchen to cook 1,100 servings of his bolognese. In our tilt skillets—which each hold 40 gallons of food—Reilly browned pork; sautéed a blend of garlic, vegetables, and herbs; and joyfully poured in a few jugs of cooking wine. “I actually was using a lot more strength than I thought maybe I would. You know that happens when you’re turning 200 hundred pounds of pork,” he joked. “But it was a super good time, and [Project Angel Heart’s] chefs put me to work.”


In order to accommodate the specific needs of meal recipients, Reilly had to make sure his meal contained plenty of nutrients- and Project Angel Heart’s chefs helped him make a few modifications for people with different illnesses. For instance, Reilly made a version of his bolognese that substituted roasted red pepper puree for tomato paste to accommodate Project Angel Heart clients living with kidney disease who cannot tolerate acidity, and another with no salt for clients living with heart disease. Reilly’s dish is a special treat that provides life-saving nutrients to 1,100 neighbors living with a serious illness. And for Reilly, creating it was an opportunity to give back using his passion for cooking.

“What Project Angel Heart does, it takes your breath away, what they’re doing to feed people in need. But I really like how they’ve gotten the restaurant community involved on so many different levels, whether it be their own restaurants or at events or inviting them to come down here,” he said. “Project Angel Heart makes it so seamless for me to use the gift that I have to help others that need it.”

Here’s Reilly’s recipe for pork bolognese (scroll down for a version that serves 6-8).


Pork Bolognese with Penne and Parmesan

Serves about 1,100
By Chef Paul C. Reilly, executive chef and co-owner, beast + bottle and Coperta

  • 400 lbs ground pork
  • 40 lbs onions, diced
  • 40 lbs carrots, diced
  • 40 lbs celery, diced
  • 52 oz garlic, minced
  • 4 gallons white cooking wine
  • 8 gallons milk
  • 72 oz canned tomato paste
  • 26 oz thyme
  • 16 oz salt
  • 14 oz pepper
  • 30 lbs baby spinach
  • 140 lbs cooked penne pasta
  • Parmesan cheese

Heat three 40-gallon tilt skillets. Add some olive oil to each. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and sweat until soft, but not brown.

Add the pork and cook until browned and cooked through.

Mix in wine, milk, tomato paste, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for 90 minutes.

Fold in the spinach. Remove and cool for service. Serve over penne with a sprinkle of parmesan.

Pork Bolognese with Penne and Parmesan

Serves 6-8
By Chef Paul C. Reilly, executive chef and co-owner, beast + bottle and Coperta

  • 2 lbs ground pork
  • 3 onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 4 celery ribs, diced
  • 2 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 can (5 oz) tomato paste
  • 3 Cups milk
  • 2 Cups white cooking wine
  • ¼ Cup fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch spinach, rinsed
  • 2 lbs cooked penne pasta
  • Parmesan cheese

Preheat a large stockpot on the stove over medium heat. Let it warm up for a few minutes, then add the onions, carrots, and celery and sweat until soft, but not brown. Add the garlic and stir for one minute.

Add the pork and cook until browned and cooked through.

Add the tomato paste, milk, wine, and fresh thyme. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for 90 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking.

Fold in the spinach. Serve over penne and top with fresh grated parmesan.

Diet Modifications:

  • For those living with renal issues or who cannot tolerate acidic foods, we replace the tomato paste with roasted red pepper puree.
  • For those who require low fat/salt, we omit the salt and replace the milk with Neufchatel, a low-fat, low-dairy cheese similar to cream cheese.
  • For those who don’t eat pork, we make a version with chicken.
  • For those who don’t eat gluten, we make a version with gluten free pasta.