Thursday, May 6, 2010

My favorite bolognese sauce.

I've been waiting to post this recipe because it is very beloved. To me.

That's right, I LOVE this recipe.

Ok, I'm really not that self-centered, but here's the deal. Hubby and I make amazing meals together. The two of us in the kitchen are unstoppable. But separately, meh. We're ok alone. He is good at seasoning and cooking the main dish meats, I am great at side dishes and prep. Together we're a force to be reckoned with. Apart, we're just ok.

Except for this one dish. Alone, I can make this phenomenally, and it's one of my top 3 favorite meals ever.

My bolognese sauce is based off of the bolognese sauce my host mum made when I was living with her and her family. She wrote it down for me when I left, and I have been making it ever since. While it's different every time, it is always a variation of what she made with love for us time and time again.

My Favorite Bolognese Sauce, Ever.

Start with an onion.

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Coarsely chop it, quarters are fine.

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Now grab a bell pepper. I am using green bell pepper for this recipe because they were on sale, but red bell peppers are wonderful as well.

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Coarsely chop that as well.

Now grab some celery. You'll want to use at least 6 stalks, and up to a whole bunch. Chop in the same large chunks.

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Hey, look at that! It's the holy trinity!

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Throw it all in a food processor, along with a couple teaspoons of water, and pulse until nearly pureed.

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Once it's all nice and finely chopped, grab two tomatoes. Quarter those like you did the other veggies...

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and add to the food processor...

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Pulse pulse pulse in the food processor, and...

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Once it's ready, dump it into your pot.

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Turn the heat on medium-medium high. As it's warming up, grab your other ingredients:

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- 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tin tomato paste
And approx...
- 1 tbs worchestershire sauce (gives a slightly sweet tang - omit if that's not your thing)
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1-2 tbs brown sugar
- 2 tbs white or rice wine vinegar

Not pictured, 1/2 cup water.

Dump it all in the pot with the veggie mixture.

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Let it all begin to simmer together, and turn your attention to the meat part of this sauce.

Start with approx 1 lb ground meat. I say meat because I've used ground chuck, ground sirloin, and even ground turkey. Whatever floats your boat!

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My big belief is that you should season the meat as it cooks. So add a little salt and freshly ground pepper during the raw stage so the flavors cook into the meat.

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Then add to the simmering sauce, and throw in a little:

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Crushed red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and italian seasoning. Feel free to add as much as you want, and whatever else you want! When it comes to seasoning, there is no perfect combination. Cater to your tastes! Just be careful with the red pepper flakes, they go nuts when cooked at length, as we discovered in the great spicy roasted tomato pasta debacle of 2009.

Bring it all to a simmer.

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Now cover, turn down to a light simmer, and leave for 1-2 hours.

Finally, once all the flavors are melded together and the veggie base broken down, you have an amazing sauce!

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And the best part is that this sauce really is pretty darn healthy. Starts with veggies, and doesn't add any oil, butter, or lard. A little fat is added from the ground beef, but that doesn't hurt anyone.

Now, serve up!

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Though I'll be honest, the pictures above were not taken the day of the making of this sauce. That's because I generally make this sauce on a weekend and freeze it all for future meals. This sauce is wonderful because it holds its flavor even during reheating. Also, the recipe makes so much that you really have no chance of eating it all in one sitting anyway! So I put it in tupperware in the freezer, and slice off a chunk when I need a quick meal. All you have to do is cook some noodles, and simultaneously reheat the sauce. Suddenly you have an awesome home-cooked meal that's significantly healthier and tastier than that jarred pasta sauce!