Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese Sauce

I love a good Bolognese sauce and have been making this one for years. It took me a long time to get it just right. I use a food processor to chop the onion, garlic, carrots, celery and bacon extra fine, that way it practically dissolves into the sauce. Traditionally, Bolognese is a mix of ground beef, pork and veal. I typically just use a pound each of ground beef and ground pork. But you can use all beef or even ground turkey. I make this Bolognese sauce in a big batch so that I can freeze some to have on hand for a last minute dinner.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pounds your choice of either ground beef, ground turkey or a pound each of beef and pork
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 large celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 heaping tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 28-oz can San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup half and half

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, add the meat and cook until it just starts to brown.

Meanwhile, place the roughly chopped onion, garlic, carrots, celery and bacon in a food processor and pulse until very finely chopped.

Once the meat is cooked, remove it and place it in a bowl.

Add the butter to the pot along with the onion mixture and cook for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the meat back in along with the spices and tomato paste and cook for 5 minutes.

Stir in the wine and cook for just a minute then add the tomatoes, bay leaf and 1/2 cup of half and half, reserve the rest for later.

Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and let it cook for at least an hour, but the longest cooks, the better. Be sure to stir the sauce every so often while sipping on some wine.

While it cooks, you can make this vinaigrette for your salad and store it in the refrigerator so it’s ready to go.

When you’re ready to eat, cook your pasta, I like spaghetti or pappardelle. While the pasta is cooking, add the remaining 1/2 cup of half and half to the sauce and check for seasoning, add more salt and pepper if needed.

Serve pasta with a big scoop of Bolognese, lots of fresh parmesan and a sprinkling of fresh parsley to add a bit of brightness.

To freeze and re-warm the sauce:

First, refrigerate the sauce overnight, I just put a lid on the pot I cooked it in and pop it in the fridge. The next day, divide the sauce into a few plastic containers, (I put two servings per container) and freeze them. When you need a last minute dinner, just take a container out of the freezer and re-warm your sauce in a pan with a splash of water over medium-low heat.

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