Bolognese sauce - An Excellent Meat Sauce

Bolognese sauce - An Excellent Meat Sauce

Bolognese is a meat-based sauce that originated in Italy in late 18th century. Since then it has taken on many variations, with the most popular being Spaghetti Bolognese.

I had to edit this post because originally I stated that this Bolognese sauce was good, but perhaps not my favourite. Then I tasted it the next day. And it was so flavourful! So much better than your typical meat sauce. The flavours blended together so beautifully and the texture was terrific. I’m definitely going to make it again! Consider making this sauce a day ahead to allow the flavours to develop.

Food has a special meaning to me, as I’m sure it does to many. I love getting together as a family and cooking a meaningful meal, where the aroma fills the house while slow cooking process slowly melds the flavours together. I personally don’t use slow cookers, pressure cookers or things like an Insta Pot. I have nothing against them and I certainly have great appreciation for how they help people prepare delicious meals when busy lives get in the way. But I love having more control over the food and the ability to pack flavour into the meals, which is easier to achieve with the traditional stove. Having said all that, I’m pretty sure this Bolognese recipe could easily adapted into a slow cooker or an Insta Pot recipe. In fact, I would prefer to make it that way. If you try this recipe in a slow cooker/Instapot – please let me know how it turns out (be sure to tweak the amount of liquid as required by your appliance, you can forgo the chicken stock but do not omit the milk.)

Ok. Let’s get cooking!

DifficultyBeginner

Yields10 Servings

 1 tbsp olive oil
 2 lbs ground beef (replace 1/4 of the meatwith ground pork, and 1/4 with ground veal, if possible)
 kosher salt, to taste
 freshly ground pepper to taste
 2 tbsp butter
 1 yellow onion, diced finely
 2 carrots, chopped finely
 2 celery stalks, chopped finely
 ½ tsp red pepper flakes
 3 garlic cloves, minced
 ¼ bunch of parsley, chopped
 ½ cup red wine
 2 cups chicken stock
 1 can whole tomatoes, crushed into chunky sauce with your hands
 2 bay leaves
 1 cup milk
 Parmesan rind, optional
 Splash of cream, to taste
 Parmesan, to taste
 Parsley, for garnish

1

This delicious meat sauce is cooked for a long time, but most of it is unattended. The first 10-15 minutes are, however, busy. So let's get ready before we start:

-preheat the oven to 300°
- chop your veggies finely
- pour 1/2 cup wine into your measuring cup
- combine stock, milk and bay leaves in a large measuring cup (this way it's all added at once and you don't forget the bay leaves)
- open the can of your tomatoes
- heat oil on medium high heat in your Dutch oven, or oven-safe pot you will be making your sauce in for 3-4 minutes until shimmering
- heat butter in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes until shimmering

2

Add your ground meat to the Dutch oven and your mirepoix (onion, celery and carrot) and red pepper flakes to the skillet with butter. Sprinkle each pan with a pinch of kosher salt and cook stirring each occasionally. Your meat will need 5-10 minutes - you are just looking to cook it until no longer pink, while breaking and squishing any lumps; pour out some of the fat. For the veggies, you are looking to soften them. After about 7 minutes, add parsley and garlic to the vegetables and cook for a few minutes until fragrant.

3

Add the red wine to the meat after it's no longer pink and cook until the wine is mostly evaporated. Your veggies should be about ready so add them to the pan also.

4

Add the milk, stock, bay leaves and parmesan rind, if using. Start adding tomatoes and their juices, squishing each tomato with your fingers as you add it. Bring the mixture to simmer. Cover and place in the oven. Bake covered for 2 hours. If you are short on time, 1 hour will work also.

5

Remove the lid and proceed baking uncovered for another 1-2 hours until thickened, stirring occasionally. Be very careful when opening the oven as the humidity that builds up in the oven may burn you. Open the oven and step aside allowing the steam to escape. During the last hour or two, your sauce will thicken. However, if at any point the liquid gets too low and the sauce looks dry - add a splash of chicken stock as needed. This should not happen in a low oven, however, may happen if your oven is running hotter than it should.

6

Skim off some of the fat. I like to add a splash of cream and stir the sauce to help emulsify it while giving the sauce lighter colour that reminds the diner this sauce is uniquely prepared with the use of some dairy. You don't have to add cream, totally optional. Remember to remove your bay leaves and Parmesan rind.

7

Bolognese is traditionally served with egg tagliatelle lightly coated with butter. Place your sauce on top of the noodles, shave some Parmesan on top and garnish with some parsley.

Ingredients

 1 tbsp olive oil
 2 lbs ground beef (replace 1/4 of the meatwith ground pork, and 1/4 with ground veal, if possible)
 kosher salt, to taste
 freshly ground pepper to taste
 2 tbsp butter
 1 yellow onion, diced finely
 2 carrots, chopped finely
 2 celery stalks, chopped finely
 ½ tsp red pepper flakes
 3 garlic cloves, minced
 ¼ bunch of parsley, chopped
 ½ cup red wine
 2 cups chicken stock
 1 can whole tomatoes, crushed into chunky sauce with your hands
 2 bay leaves
 1 cup milk
 Parmesan rind, optional
 Splash of cream, to taste
 Parmesan, to taste
 Parsley, for garnish

Directions

1

This delicious meat sauce is cooked for a long time, but most of it is unattended. The first 10-15 minutes are, however, busy. So let's get ready before we start:

-preheat the oven to 300°
- chop your veggies finely
- pour 1/2 cup wine into your measuring cup
- combine stock, milk and bay leaves in a large measuring cup (this way it's all added at once and you don't forget the bay leaves)
- open the can of your tomatoes
- heat oil on medium high heat in your Dutch oven, or oven-safe pot you will be making your sauce in for 3-4 minutes until shimmering
- heat butter in a large non-stick pan over medium high heat for 3-4 minutes until shimmering

2

Add your ground meat to the Dutch oven and your mirepoix (onion, celery and carrot) and red pepper flakes to the skillet with butter. Sprinkle each pan with a pinch of kosher salt and cook stirring each occasionally. Your meat will need 5-10 minutes - you are just looking to cook it until no longer pink, while breaking and squishing any lumps; pour out some of the fat. For the veggies, you are looking to soften them. After about 7 minutes, add parsley and garlic to the vegetables and cook for a few minutes until fragrant.

3

Add the red wine to the meat after it's no longer pink and cook until the wine is mostly evaporated. Your veggies should be about ready so add them to the pan also.

4

Add the milk, stock, bay leaves and parmesan rind, if using. Start adding tomatoes and their juices, squishing each tomato with your fingers as you add it. Bring the mixture to simmer. Cover and place in the oven. Bake covered for 2 hours. If you are short on time, 1 hour will work also.

5

Remove the lid and proceed baking uncovered for another 1-2 hours until thickened, stirring occasionally. Be very careful when opening the oven as the humidity that builds up in the oven may burn you. Open the oven and step aside allowing the steam to escape. During the last hour or two, your sauce will thicken. However, if at any point the liquid gets too low and the sauce looks dry - add a splash of chicken stock as needed. This should not happen in a low oven, however, may happen if your oven is running hotter than it should.

6

Skim off some of the fat. I like to add a splash of cream and stir the sauce to help emulsify it while giving the sauce lighter colour that reminds the diner this sauce is uniquely prepared with the use of some dairy. You don't have to add cream, totally optional. Remember to remove your bay leaves and Parmesan rind.

7

Bolognese is traditionally served with egg tagliatelle lightly coated with butter. Place your sauce on top of the noodles, shave some Parmesan on top and garnish with some parsley.

Bolognese Sauce

Happens to be Gluten-Free: as with all gluten-free recipes, ensure all your ingredients are gluten free and not cross-contaminated. Pay particular attention to your stock and wine ingredients to make sure they are Gluten-Free.

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