I’m pretty sure every last one of my Facebook friends has visited Italy this week. There are beautiful pictures of naked male statues standing by glorious fountains, bold red wines, and churches – oh, the churches. And I’m all sittin’ over here in Seattle listening to my neighbor’s favorite music and eating a whole wheat bagel covered in peanut butter & jelly. Perhaps this post came out of my subconscious jealousy (and by subconscious, I mean complete awareness).
Cue the neighbor’s music that sounds like the back end of an eighties boom box by the time it reaches my ears… I’m about to welcome you to my own Little Italy.
Once you accomplish the initial steps, this is a great recipe to throw in the crockpot for the remaining 4 hours. Hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day so you had to know their sauce would take at least four hours to make. Also, you know I never miss capitalizing on a great pun. Like, ever. I’m sorry. You’re welcome. I’m sorry.
You have not tried spaghetti sauce until you’ve had Bolognese. I promise you will never go back.
- 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 large carrots, finely diced
- 3 stalks celery, finely diced
- 5 garlic cloves
- 3 medium tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 a stick)
- 4 ounces pancetta, diced
- 8 ounces ground beef
- 8 ounces ground veal
- 8 ounces country style ground pork
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cup water (1 cup may be replaced with a dry white or red wine if you’re feeling especially fancy pants)
- 3 tablespoons beef Better Than Bouillon
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
Most meats come in about one pound packages. If making one recipe, you can freeze the other halves. You’ll be making this again soon. I promise.
Preheat oven to 350F. It is a good idea to dice veggies in advance. This is a long simmering dish; but, it is also pretty busy in the beginning. Set veggies aside.
After veggies are diced, cut tomatoes into quarters and place on a baking sheet drizzled with olive oil. Salt & pepper tomatoes. Add garlic cloves (still wrapped in peels) to pan as well. Bake for 20 minutes. This is the only step that requires the oven so you can turn it off.
In a large pot, pour olive oil and add butter. Melt over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and allow to cook for a few minutes. Add diced veggies. Cook until onions are translucent.
While veggies cook, place milk, water, Better Than Bouillon, and tomato paste into a medium bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
Remove tomatoes and garlic from oven when they are done. Place tomatoes into a food processor. Remove peels from garlic (they should practically slide off) and add. Process until still a little chunky, but soup-like.
Add ground meats. Using utensil, chop the meat up well while cooking. Pieces should be very fine. Allow to cook until juices evaporate and meat is beautifully browned and somewhat sticking to the bottom of a pan.
Add bouillon mixture to the pot. Stir in. Add processed tomatoes and garlic to pot. Stir in. Allow sauce to simmer on lowest heat with a lid partially covering for about 4 hours. Make sure to check and stir once and awhile. The sauce will become redder and be kind of oily in texture as it cooks. Near the end is a good time for additional salt since it may reduce down and become too salty if you add a lot in the beginning.
When it is time to serve, cook noodles according to instructions on the box. Be sure to bring water to a boil first, add noodles, then cook for as long as the box says (all noodle cooking times are different).
If you don’t count the fact there are no naked male statues standing by glorious fountains, bold red wines, and churches, it’s just like I’m there. Only, you know, I’m watching the Mariners on ESPN and approximately 5,661 miles away from an ancient colosseum.