Posted by: A Part of the Solution | September 28, 2010

Bolognese Sauce

I’m not in a hurry to get my food cooked. Most of the time, I would rather work out how to slow down the food I’m cooking and extract more flavor from it. Most of the time, I would rather get a recipe started early and leave it to improve on its own. Most of the time, I would rather use traditional processes and techniques to bring my food to the table with less ‘convenience’ and more depth of character. Thus with my Bolognese sauce.

I use more tomato than some of the most traditional sugo  recipes suggest. Tomatoes aren’t native to Bologna, or even the Eurasian continent–but I’m not on that continent. I don’t use any cream in my sauce, although there are plenty of versions which do. I make mine largely of beef, and not wild boar. I add lots of peppers, both mild and not so. I like heaps of garlic and onion in my Bolognese sauce, so in they all go. I like a pinch of exotic spices, which are extremely traditional to a classic Bolognese sauce, and they’re right there. I like richness, so I use stock if I have it. This might not be the best Bolognese sauce for everyone, but it works for me.

Bolognese Sauce

2 TBSP drippings or olive oil and drippings mixed

2 large onions, peeled and chopped

2 fat carrots, peeled and chopped small

1 bulb garlic, separated into cloves, peeled and chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped–greens included

(4 oz mushrooms, cleaned and chopped small–optional)

1 bell pepper (red for preference, but use what you like), seeded and chopped

(5 cherry bomb peppers, seeded and chopped, optional)

1 1/4 lb ground beef

(1/2 lb loose spicy sausage, optional)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

2 TBSP tomato paste

1 cup red wine

4 lb fresh tomatoes, peeled seeded and chopped (weight before processing), OR 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

2 cups chicken or beef or vegetable stock, or water

salt and pepper

1 handful of basil, rinsed and chopped

In a large, heavy bottomed pan over moderate heat, sauté the onions until translucent. Add the carrots and let them become hot before adding the garlic and celery. Once the garlic has become translucent, add the mushrooms and peppers you’re using. Add a little salt if you’re using the mushrooms to help them release their liquid. Add the meat and stir as it cooks so that it breaks well down into itty, bitty meat-a-cules.

Now add the spices and let them toast for a minute or two. Then add the tomato paste and wine. Let the wine cook down, with a little stirring, until it’s about 1/4 its original volume. Finally, add the tomatoes and stock. Let the sauce come up to a simmer, reduce the heat and let it cook–stirring occasionally–for at least two more hours. Three hours is better than two. Four is better than that.

Finish the sauce with the fresh basil and salt and pepper to taste. I like to serve this over long pasta with grated Parmesan or Grana Padano and red pepper flakes.



  1. Carrie, you’re killing me, seriously (singing: Killing me softly with bolognese, killing me softly, with meat sauce…)! Anyway, I love that this recipe has those warm spices in it – cinnamon, cloves, etc. Sigh…

    • And it really is all that, and then some. How about that alchemical process known as cooking? Really, run away down here and I’ll feed you (and if you bring him, him too) everything you could wish–without him feeling slighted or left out in the least.

  2. how about using spicy veggie sausage, eh? would also work? I guess cut back on one of the cherry bomb peppers? 😉

    • Oh heck yeah. And even some Gimme Lean if that’s the direction one’s heart tends–but up the oil a little since the Gimme Lean and the Veggie Sausage need that back-up.
      It will still rock, roll and rule on the dinner plate.
      If you don’t want to freeze massive leftovers, or eat Bolognese for a week, you can freeze it for months in usable portions, too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: