Thursday, 12 April 2012

Bolognese of the Gods

Seriously Good Bolognese Sauce

Makes 4-6 servings

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 celery stalks, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 carrots, peeled, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
8 ounces lean ground beef
8 ounces ground veal*
6 strips bacon, finely chopped
3/4 cup red wine
3 cups (approximately) beef stock
2 cans tomato paste
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Any herbs you fancy - oregano, marjoram, or thyme
A few pinches of red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup milk

If you don't have a food processor to chop the veg, use a cheese grater - it'll be hard going with the stringiness of celery, but it will get it to the fineness needed better than straight chopping.  Just watch those fingers and knuckles - there are enough types of meat in this recipe already!

Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat.  Add bacon, cook until browned.  Add onions, celery, and carrots. Sauté until soft, 8-10 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for another minute.  Add beef and veal.  Sauté, breaking up meat chunks with the back of a spoon as finely as possible, until browned - about 15 minutes. Add wine; boil 1 minute, stirring often and scraping up browned bits. Add 2 1/2 cups stock and tomato paste, Worcestershire, herbs, and red pepper; stir to blend. Reduce heat to very low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, until flavors meld, about 1 1/2 hours. Season with salt and pepper if desired. 

Warm milk gently in microwave; gradually add to sauce. Cover pot with lid slightly ajar and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.  Add more stock by 1/4-cupfuls to thin if needed.

This is one of those sauces that is better if made ahead of time and slowly reheated after having a chance to commingle.  Plus it freezes well - allow to thaw, or reheat at very low power in the microwave.

Serve over piles of your favourite pasta and top with drifts of freshly grated Parmesan.  And do make sure and drink the rest of that bottle of wine with it.

*You can use all beef if you prefer.


  1. I like to add a dash of balsamic to bolognese. I also find a mix of beef and pork mince gives a good flavour.

    1. Ooh, balsamic sounds good - I'll give that a try next time!