Monday dinner was an Italian meatless spaghetti squash dish which was excellent. However, that put my hubby and I in the mood for a serious Italian meat dish. (Lightbulb)… A traditional Bolognese sauce. I only make this dish a few times a year because it is so rich. In the throws of winter I make it with a creamy Polenta because it just screams comfort, but in the summer I make it with a light and simple Cappellini. You need to start early with this sauce because it takes up to three hours to prepare. It is a great dish for Sundays but it is not Sunday and I want it all the same…
Traditional Bolognese Sauce
(I grind my own meat for this dish and used 2 large New York strip steaks and a filet Mignon, but 2 1/2 – 3 lbs of a good ground chuck would work too)
1 1/2 cups diced onion
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup chopped celery
2 lg cans of tomato paste
6 cloves of garlic, minced
large sprigs of oregano
large sprigs of thyme
3 bay leaves
1/4 cup olive oil
3 (+) cups good red wine, (I used a Bordeaux)
salt & pepper
In a large sauce pot heat olive oil and saute onions, carrots and celery on medium-low for 30 minutes. Let them brown and become rich in their natural sugar. Next raise heat to medium, add the chopped garlic and ground beef. At this point, season well with salt and pepper (about a tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper per lb of beef). Using a spatula, break the meat up until it is fine in size and starting to brown. Turn the burner back to medium-low and continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes. Keep an eye on the meat and stir occasionally.
Now it is time to add the tomato paste… all of it. Stir it into the meat and let it start to cook low and slow, once again bringing out the rich sugars in the paste, about another 20 to 30 minutes. It should feel very pasty on the spatula.
In a 9 x 9 cut piece of cheese cloth, (or kitchen twine), tie all the herbs into a bundle and place in the pot.
Pour in the 3 cups of wine or the entire bottle. (I like to reserve a little glass for the cook).
Stir the meat and wine in the pot making sure to submerge the bundle of herbs. Increase heat to medium again and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
The sauce will become rich and thick. Serve with pasta of choice. I used a Cappellini. Bon Appetit!
For a simple yet delicious version of Bolognese sauce try Linda’s Spaghetti Bolognese.