I have to start by raving about this bolognese sauce. It’s my go-to recipe for sauce. It takes some time to make, it’s one of those low and slow type of recipes. It’s so worth the effort and time though. It is my favourite bolognese sauce in the world. And I’ve eaten a lot of bolognese on the path to this one. A LOT of bolognese!
This is something I make about once a month. It’s a great recipe since you can alter it to suit your taste. So if you prefer shallots instead of onions you can adjust that. If you aren’t a wine fan you don’t have to use it. If you want to use bacon instead of pancetta that’s just fine and dandy. The ingredients are easy to play around with and tweak to your liking. Which to me is the mark of a great family recipe that will stand the test of time.
One thing I’ve learned is I do not have a tolerance for fresh pasta. I love fresh pasta, but it does not love me back. Something about it that gets my IBS jumping in a big way. Occasionally I throw caution to the wind and invite trouble by using fresh pasta anyway. But more often than not I use dried pasta since my tummy seems to cope with it better. Just one of those things you learn to adjust according to your dietary needs. There’s great whole wheat pastas out there if that’s your “thang”, I can’t do straight up whole wheat so it’s not my “thang”. There’s also wonderful quinoa and rice noodles out there if that’s your “thang”. I personally don’t care for the quinoa ones and brown rice I react to. So for me it’s plain old noodles. Which is good since I love the plain stuff like no ones business. I could eat pasta with plain old noodles every single day. And you all see how often I post pasta recipes so you know this chick isn’t fibbing. I like carbs, sue me! Before you do hand me a big bowl of pasta first though.
- 2 oz (60 g) pancetta, cut into small cubes
- 4 small carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 4 shallots, diced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 lb ground beef
- 4 cloves of fresh garlic, pressed or minced
- ½ cup of dry red wine
- 28 oz can of San Marzano tomatoes
- 2 to 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cups beef broth ( I use 4 cups boiling water & 2 heaping tablespoons Better Than Bouillon Base for my broth)
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1½ teaspoons salt (I really like himalayan salt)
- Pepper to taste (I hate pepper and never use it)
- 1½ tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried sweet basil
- Dash of nutmeg
- 2 packages of fresh pasta or 1 large package of dried pasta
- ½ cup of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for serving
- In a large saute pan or dutch oven over medium low heat add your butter. Let it get all melty and foamy. Then once the foam begins to go away drop in your pancetta and cook for about 3 minutes on it's own.
- Now add the carrots, celery and shallots and make sure you spread them around the pan. Let them cook until they get golden which can take about 30 minutes. If it's cooking too fast turn down your heat a touch. You can also add a touch of water to slow the process if it's cooking too high or fast. You want to continue to stir it occasionally. It's ready when it's golden in colour and smells like it's caramelizing.
- Now add both meats (ground pork and ground beef) and stir really well. Raise the heat to medium and begin to work the meat, breaking it up into small crumbly pieces. This should take about 20 minutes. Do not overcook. Overcooked meat will not absorb flavour well.
- Add your garlic and give it a stir for about a minute or two.
- Now add the wine to the pan. Cook on medium until the wine evaporates, takes about 2 to 4 minutes. If you don't want to use wine add a touch of lemon or balsamic vinegar to give the acid the wine would to the dish.
- Now add the tomatoes, half the paste, all the broth, all the milk, and all your spices.
- Bring to a good boil, you want it starting to bubble up. Then reduce to low heat and let it simmer for about an hour. Give it a stir a few times during that hour. If it seems to be cooking too fast you can lower the temperature and also add some more broth to help.
- Now partially cover the pan, and continue to cook for about another 1 to 1½ hours. It should begin to thicken and go a browner colour. For me I like my sauce more red and deeper in flavour so I add the second half of the paste after an hour, then cook for that last half an hour. This really takes the sauce to the next level in my opinion.
- Cover the pan and simmer till noodles are ready.
- Bring a large stock pot of water to a boil. Add a good amount of salt. Drop in your noodles and cook according to the directions, minus about 1 minute.
- Reserve about 1 cup of pasta water before draining! Just ladle it into a container or dunk a measuring cup into the water.
- Now drain your noodles but DO NOT RINSE.
- Add a little bit of really good olive oil to the noodles. About 2 to 3 tablespoons worth. Mix it up again in the big stock pot.
- Now mix the noodles and the sauce together in either the stock pot you used for the noodles or in the dutch oven your sauce is in. Bring the heat back up to a medium low heat while you toss. This process should only take a minute or two. You want the noodles, olive oil and sauce to all marry together. If it's a tad dry or if you're like me and really like even more flavour, add about ¼ cup of pasta water to the pot now. Give it a good stir. You can add more if you like. Give it a taste and adjust accordingly.
- Serve with a big old carb loving smile and some Parmigiano-Reggiano over top!
I’ve slightly adapted this recipe from the cookbook Williams Sonoma Pasta. I have to tell you this is a cookbook in a series of cookbooks by them I bought at Costco of all places. I love each cookbook from the series but this pasta one is amazing.
This dish is a family favourite. So much so we make it all the time. Honestly it’s what I crave when I want comfort food. And apparently I want comfort food a lot.
When making good Italian food you want really good quality olive oil. I love olive oil way too much. I think I have about 30 bottles of varying flavours. It’s a little addiction on my part. I’ll have to take a photo of all my oils for you one day when I have some free time. It’s impressive. As are my collections of vinegar. And sauces. I have a problem apparently. It’s my dirty little secret. I hoard oils, sauces and vinegar. I can’t help myself. It’s not my fault.
If I have to blame anyone it would have to be Aurora Importing. They make the very best olive oil I’ve ever tasted in my life. If you visit my Pizza Bites post there is a giveaway going on for an Frantoi Cutrera Olive Oil Tasting Box. And today I have another special treat for you. Since my peeps at Aurora Importing know how much I love their olive oil they sent me a nice big bottle of Frantoi Cutrera Frescolio to try. I’ve tried their Frantoi Cutrera Primo oil and honestly I will bop my family in the head if they try to use it. I have a tiny little bit left from a bottle they sent me awhile back. So they did me a solid and sent me a wonderful bottle of the Frantoi Cutrera Frescolio to try out. So the special treat today is they have told me I can giveaway 1 bottle of this liquid gold to 1 lucky reader. Aren’t they amazing! That’s not even a question, which is why I used an exclamation point instead of a question mark. Cuz that’s how I roll. I love this company. For realz! Now here’s the deets on this very special treat:
To enter please leave a comment telling me what your favourite dish is that you olive oil in! Easy peasy entry. If you want more chances to win I got your back. You can do any or all of the following for additional entries. Just remember each entry has to have a separate comment to count. I draw by random.org so your comment numbers are how the winner gets picked. Now that I’ve bored you to tears with that little detail here ya go: Bonus entry #1: Subscribe via email to my blog, little button to your right that says “Subscribe via email”. Clever eh! Leave an additional comment with your subscriber handle so I can verify. Bonus entry #2: Stalk me on Facebook. Leave an additional comment with your FB handle so I can verify. Bonus entry #3: Stalk Aurora Importing on Facebook. Leave an additional comment with your FB handle so I can verify. Bonus entry #4: Stalk me on Twitter. Leave an additional comment with your Twitter handle so I can verify. Bonus entry #5: Stalk Aurora Importing on Twitter. Leave an additional comment with your Twitter handle so I can verify. Bonus entry #6: Stalk me on Pinterest. Leave an additional comment with your Pinterest handle so I can verify. Bonus entry #7: Stalk me on StumbleUpon. Leave an additional comment with your SU handle so I can verify. Bonus entry #8: Stalk me on G+. Leave me an additional comment with your G+ handle so I can verify. Just for fun: Bonus entry #9: Tell me something you would like to see me make in 2013. Super duper daily bonus entry #10: You can stop by ONCE PER DAY during the contest and tell me some random fact about yourself for an additional daily entry. Can be anything you like, tell me your fave colour, fave tv show, fave boy band, fave Kardashian, who irritates you on The Real Housewives of anywhere and everywhere. Whatever your little heart desires. Pg rated though! Young peeps read. Giveaway is open to Canadian residents only! Sorry all my US and International friends. Giveaway is open until January 12 at midnight. Draw will be made by random.org and winner will have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not claim the prize I will draw another name. Winner will be contacted by email, so make sure I have your email addy peeps!
Good luck all my Canadians readers. It’s a pleasure to offer you some Canadian giveaways. I know we tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to giveaways so this is a nice treat for you and for me.
Thanks to Aurora Importing. This company is absolutely stellar and I love working with them. You can follow their blog, and also follow their Aurora YouTube channel and their Recipideo YouTube channel.
Also a quick note that the cookbook link is directed to my Amazon store. So this post contains affiliate links. It’s cool though, don’t panic. I’m not getting rich off Amazon. I’ve had a store for months and haven’t made a dime. Terrible right. Cripes I need to promote it more. Come help a sistah out folks. I could use some grocery money. *evil giggle*
Toodles and smoochies! xx