Authentic Bolognese

I was always of the mind that the pasta sauce available in the grocery store offered so much variety that there really wasn’t any reason for ”homemade pasta sauce”. Many purists will argue with me on this, but I could never convince myself that it was worth my time and energy to craft my own pasta sauce, therefore,  I always opted for the grocery store variety. 

I recently dined at a restaurant where the chef offered an authentic bolognese with fresh tuna instead of the traditional ground meats. I was blown away with the flavor and consistency and it inspired me to make my own.  I knew, however, that my husband would not enjoy a seafood based bolognese. 

I still felt there was an opportunity to create an authentic bolognese that was representative of what I experienced at the restaurant, but with a more traditional flair.  I think I nailed it and I hope you enjoy it.

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Bolognese on Pasta
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How to prepare

Let me start with….a bolognese sauce takes time and cannot be rushed.

Cook it slow and low
It starts with hand-chopped vegetables that are slowly sauteed to bring out their aromatic flavor — a soffrito. The meats are also slowly browned over medium low heat to bring out the rich flavors without drying or making them tough. Once all of the ingredients are combined, you’ll continue cooking the mixture slow and low for several hours.

I used a blend of canned fire roasted tomatoes and canned tomato sauce, but I also included fresh roasted tomatoes to offer a more robust tomato flavor.

Roasted Tomatoes
Roasting tomatoes is so easy and worth the little extra time to get that fresh tomato flavor.

While the tomatoes are roasting, simply saute the onions, carrots and celery until they begin to soften. I add the garlic during the last couple of minutes so as not to burn it and it really only takes a couple of minutes for it to soften and cook. Your house will now begin to smell amazing.

Now simply add in the pancetta, ground beef and sausage to the mixture. I highly recommend using a meat chopper to help break down the meats and get a nice consistency to the sauce. It’s a very inexpensive utensil and makes this step so much easier. Allow this to cook slowly over medium-low heat.

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Now you’ll simply add in the remaining ingredients and allow it to cook slow and low for several hours.

Bolognese Sauce

How to serve and keep bolognese

When the sauce is ready simply serve over your favorite pasta. I chose pappardelle, which is a wide ribbon pasta. It is very absorbent and sturdy, making it ideal for thick sauces.

Since bolognese does take quite a bit of time to make, I recommend making large batches and freezing the extra. Freeze your Bolognese sauce for up to 3 months. Simply freeze them using your foodsaver or vacuum sealer for best results. (I have found that 1.5 lbs (using a food scale) is the perfect amount for 2 servings. )

Simply thaw a foodsaver bag to serve it again over pasta or use it when making lasagna.

While I will continue enjoying store-bought sauces for those simple meals, I have developed an appreciation for homemade sauce. This bolognese sauce had such a rich and authentic flavor that it warranted the time and effort. It doesn’t take a lot of ingredients (or a lot of money) to make an authentic bolognese recipe. What it does take, though, is patience. The sauce needs time achieve it’s authentic flavor and texture. Thankfully most of the cook-time is hands-off.

Authentic Bolognese
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5 from 1 vote

Authentic Bolognese

I was always of the mind that the pasta sauce available in the grocery store offered so much variety that there really wasn’t  any reason for ”homemade pasta sauce”.   Many purists will argue with me on this, but I couldn’t convince myself that it was worth my time and energy to craft my own pasta sauce so I always opted for the grocery store variety.  I recently went to dinner at a restaurant where the chef offered a Bolognese with fresh tuna.  I was blown away.  However, my husband isn’t a fan of a seafood based Bolognese but I still felt there was an opportunity to create a traditional Bolognese that was representative of what I experienced at the restaurant, but with a more traditional flare.  I think I nailed it and I hope you enjoy it. 
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Servings: 10 Servings
Calories: 412kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive oil
  • 2 Carrots minced
  • 2 Celery minced
  • 1 red onion minced
  • 3 Portobello mushrooms chopped fine
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage
  • 4 ounces pancetta chopped fine
  • 2 cups tomatoes quartered
  • 2 15 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup milk
  • dash vermouth
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • A squeeze of lemon juice
  • nutmeg dash
  • cinnamon dash
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parmesan cheese for serving

Instructions

  • Heat an oven to 425 degrees.
  • Place 2 Cups of fresh tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil and salt.
  • Roast for 20 minutes or until soft and charred bits are appearing.
  • Remove the tomatoes and set aside.
  • Once cooled a little, blend the tomatoes in a blender to make a tomato sauce
  • In a Dutch Oven , over medium high heat, add the butter and oil. Once melted, add the carrots, celery, and onion.
  • Saute, stirring occasionally until tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook or another minute.
  • Add the ground beef and sausage and use a meat chopper to grind up the meat as it’s cooking.
  • Once the meat is cooked, start adding all other ingredients.
  • Stir to combine and simmer for 2-3 hours or up to an entire afternoon.
  • Remove the bay leaves and serve with fresh pasta and fresh parmesan cheese.
Nutrition Facts
Authentic Bolognese
Amount Per Serving
Calories 412 Calories from Fat 297
% Daily Value*
Fat 33g51%
Saturated Fat 13g81%
Cholesterol 86mg29%
Sodium 794mg35%
Potassium 677mg19%
Carbohydrates 11g4%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 18g36%
Vitamin A 2845IU57%
Vitamin C 12mg15%
Calcium 63mg6%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Notes

Any extra bolognese can be frozen for up to 3 months. I recommend freezing them using your food saver or vacuum sealer for best results. I have found that 1.5 lbs is the perfect amount for 2 servings.
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