Rich and complex are the words for this sauce! Get ready to have a pot of meat sauce bubbling away on the stove for an afternoon because it is completely and totally worth it. Take it from this Italian-American girl, here is the Bolognese sauce you need in your life.
I’m not kidding. This is the recipe that I made when I was 9 months pregnant. I was in total nesting mode and knew I needed some food that would be completely easy once my daughter was born. And so I cooked up a big pot of sauce and put it away. When my mom came after my daughter was born, what did she bring? This sauce. What more can you say than this sauce has the stamp of approval of Noni?
All other sauces go home! No…not really. I have lots of other awesome ragus to share, but this one is my favorite.
The recipe makes enough for leftovers (8 servings in all), since I think if you are going to have dinner cooking for hours and hours, you should get two meals out of it. And I frequently double it! I actually did this time as well. We had dinner AND lunch AND I put four bags into the freezer. That’s four yummy dinners that are just sitting and waiting and won’t take hardly any work to get on the table. Win. 🙂
The most important part of the sauce is the layering of the ingredients.
You need to let each addition get a chance to cook down before you add the next. First the onions and carrots, then the meat, then the milk, and then the wine.
Once the base has been laid, it’s time for the tomatoes! And a long, slow bubble on the stove or in a low oven (325F) until the sauce is thick and silky and ready to be ladled over pasta. This takes time, but it is totally worth it! Just pick a day when you are going to be home and let it do its thing while you do yours and before you know it the house is going to smell amazing and dinner will be ready.
At that point make your pasta. Then a little cheese, a little basil or parsley, maybe a little red wine to sip on, and you have dinner!
Well, I would suggest a salad to go with – maybe my Homemade Caesar Salad or my Green Bean Salad with Goat Cheese and Almonds or my Blue Cheese and Brussels Sprout Salad or a favorite salad of your own. Because no matter how much we wish, we cannot live on Bolognese sauce alone. No matter how yummy it is.
-Happy Eating, Annemarie
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup minced white onion
- 1/2 cup minced carrots
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 lb ground meat either all beef or a mix
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 cups white wine
- 2-28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1-28 oz can whole tomatoes pureed in the blender
- toppings: fresh basil, fresh parsley, parmesan cheese
- Heat the butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the salt, onion, and carrots. Saute for 5 minutes, or until just starting to get soft and golden. Add the garlic; saute for 30 seconds. Add the meat and oregano. Cook the meat, breaking it up as you go into small pieces, until there is almost no red left, about 10 minutes.
- Add the milk. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring it to boil, then reduce the heat so that it maintains a gentle boil (the milk should be bubbling but in no danger of burning or boiling over). Cook the milk down for 20-30 minutes.
- Add the wine. Again increase the heat to bring it to a boil and then lower the heat to maintain a gentle boil. Cook the wine down for 20-30 minutes.
Add the pureed whole tomatoes and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer and then lower the heat so that the sauce is just occasionally bubbling. At this point you can leave it on the stove on very low heat (I usually move it to a small burner on low) or put it in the oven at 325F, either way with the pot uncovered so the sauce will cook down. Simmer the sauce for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Serve with a wide pasta such as pappardelle or fettuccine and top with parmesan cheese, basil, and parsley.
If you are using a mix of ground meats, I like equal parts beef, pork, and either chicken or turkey.
This recipe makes for a generous 8 servings. Plan on cooking once and eating twice or thrice! To freeze the leftovers, put it in a large sealable plastic bag. This will keep it nice and thin so that it will defrost easily.
If you have a large enough pot, the recipe can be doubled and you will have lots of bolognese in your freezer. Just give some extra time to each of the steps. 15 minutes for the meat, about 40 minutes for the milk and wine, and at least 5 hours for the simmer.
Also, if you are doubling it, 4 cups is more than one bottle of wine. I just pour the bottle in and call it good rather than opening another for just a little wine.