My Perfect Bolognese

You guys know by now that I am obsessed with food. I love meat. I love carbs. Put them together, maybe add a little cheese on top? Foodgasm…I’m getting worked up just thinking about it. That said, it will come as no surprise when I tell you I am total sucker for a good Bolognese. It is hard for me not to order this when dining at an Italian restaurant. Some of my Seattle faves for a bowl of this meaty goodness – Cantinetta, Il Terazzo Carmine and La Spiga.

I have wanted to find the perfect recipe and make a batch at home, but the timing hasn’t been right. I don’t typically have 2-4 hours of simmer time available, which is what you’re signing up for when you make Bolognese (normally I make Ina’s Weeknight Bolognese). But yesterday, I did have the time, and it was a perfect day for it. I went to the UW game on Saturday night with college friends, we had so much fun, maybe a little too much. Tailgating like it was 1994, but with triple cream brie and wine. The weather was awful, raining sideways, winds up to 60 MPH, my power ended up going out. I think we watched like 20 minutes of the game. Good thing I had my wellies to keep my feet dry!

Pi Phi Tailgate 2014
Phi Phi tailgate 2014. Can’t miss Courtney in those socks!
The next morning was all about couch time with Farrah (like, the best treat ever!) and my new favorite show, Chrisley Knows Best (seriously, do yourself a favor and get into it). This is what happens, I’m on the couch, thinking about what I want for dinner at 10AM. Lynne’s internal dialogue: “I want comfort food. Roast chicken and veggies? No. Pasta? Yes. What kind of pasta? With meat? Yes.” And so on. And then it came to me. Bolognese.

After scouring the internet, I landed on 2 recipes that I combined to construct my masterpiece. Marcella Hazan’s Meat Sauce, Bolognese Style, which I found on Dinner A Love Story and “Real” Italian Bolognese on Food.com. The ingredients and preparation don’t vary too much in traditional Bolognese recipes.

Onions, carrots, celery, garlic, bacon Adding beef, pork, spices Pre-simmer Bolognese and Brussels

My Perfect Bolognese

Courtesy of Marcella Hazan and “Real” Italian Bolognese

Serves 6 – Total Time: 2 hour, 40 min – Prep: 40 min – Cook: 2-4 hours

Ingredients

  • 1/4 lb pancetta 
  • 1 medium onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 stalk celery (finely chopped)
  • 1 large carrot (finely chopped)
  • 6 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 4 tablespoons butter 
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  •  3/4 lb ground pork
  • 1 (8 ounce) can beef broth 
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 (28 ounce) can San Marzano crushed tomatoes 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup milk (I used 2%)

Directions

  1. Save yourself some time and prep carrots, celery, onion, garlic in your food processor (separately).
  2. In a Dutch Oven, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat until butter begins to froth.
  3. Add onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and pancetta.
  4. Cook until onions are translucent (about 8 to 10 minutes).
  5. Remove pancetta from the pot and trim off the fat. Mine was mostly fat.
  6. Chop lean portions of pancetta in small pieces and return to pot.
  7. Add Ground beef and ground Pork, and cook until meat loses red, raw color.
  8. Raise heat and add wine and beef broth.
  9. Cook sauce until wine and beef broth are mostly evaporated.
  10. Turn heat down to simmer and add oregano, salt, pepper, sage, red pepper flakes, and nutmeg.
  11. Let cook for approximately 20 minutes.
  12. Add milk and bring to a boil.
  13. Once the mixture comes to a boil, return to simmer, cook until milk begins to evaporate.
  14. Add crushed tomatoes and stir together.
  15. Let sauce simmer partially covered for about 2 to 4 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Taste along the way to make sure it’s to your s&p liking.
  16. Cook up some fresh pasta and enjoy! Please, use fresh pasta. If any sauce warrants it, this is it.

Sometimes I say to myself, I make really goddamn good food. Yesterday was one of those times. Oliver and I devoured it. My 2 toughest critics were impressed, win! I also have enough left to freeze a little batch of sauce.

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