Food: Bolognese Sauce

It wasn't until last year that I found a great Bolognese Sauce.  My kids love it, T and I love it and its fantastic as both a sauce poured over some penne as well as using it to layer in a lasagna.  The key to this great sauce is its simmering time, which is typically 2.5-3 hours but I've let it go all afternoon over a very, very, very low flame.

Bolognese Sauce
adapted from Extra Virgin

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, medium chop
  • 3 carrots, medium chop
  • 3 celery stalks, medium chop
  • 5 ounces pancetta, cut into small cubes
  • 2 handfuls fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 (28-ounce) cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup whole milk
*This makes A LOT of sauce. I normally have it for dinner that night, save a little for leftovers for the kids the next night and I freeze the rest in two zip lock freezer bags for 2 more nights of dinner or to choose to use the rest for a lasagna.

Saute chopped Onion, Carrots, and Celery in 5 tbsp of Olive Oil.  This is a lot of chopping and if you have a food processor feel free to give your wrist a rest and chop them up automatically.  This mixture is called soffritto.

 *I bought my pancetta in the deli section of the super market.  Don't buy the prepackaged pancetta because they are cut paper thin and will pretty much disintegrate when used in this recipe.  Go to the deli counter and ask them to cut you some pancetta.  I used requested the #7 blade which produced these nice slabs of pancetta which is perfect for cubing and tossing into the pot.
If you're not familiar with pancetta it's basically Italian bacon just not smoked like the American stuff instead its salt cured with spices.  Yum!

 Cube the pancetta, like so, and toss it in the pot

 *This is a pound and a half each of ground beef and ground pork.  You can also use one pound each of beef, pork and veal which is very tasty and is usually how I make it but the butcher was out of veal so I upped the beef and pork and it still turned out fantastic.  I know a lot of people don't eat veal so this is probably a better tutorial for all.
Add the beef and pork in to the pot in smaller pieces and use your spoon to break up any large clumps of meat so it all cooks easily and in uniformed sizes.
You can increase the heat at this point. 
Chop your parsley up and once the meat is browned add it to the pot.
Add the wine and cook until the alcohol has evaporated.  Before to scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pan.

Pulse the peeled, whole tomatoes in your food processor and add to the pot.  I couldn't pulse all three cans at once without my food processor overflowing.  I had to break it up into two batches.

 It's all starting to come together now!  Once the tomatoes has been added to the pot season generously with salt and pepper.  Lower the flame and let it simmer for a minimum of 2.5 hours (like I mentioned earlier in the post, I've let it simmer for 4 -5 hours over an extremely low flame and it turned out tasty).  
Serve over a penne or any other pasta you enjoy, but be sure its one that will trap all that yummy sauce into its nook and crannies, so you get maximum flavor with every bite.  And don't forget to top with some fresh grated pecorino romano or parmigiano reggiano!  Yum!


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