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On the list of Josh’s favorite things that I make, I know for sure that my bolognese is in the top 3, and quite possibly number 1. Birthday request level. This makes me extremely happy, since it has taken me quite a while to find and modify the right recipe, and I plan on this being a recipe our family uses for years to come. I want this to be my legacy recipe. I mean, that’s not asking for too much, right?

I didn’t think so.

This recipe is not hard, but it does take time. lots of time. Time that is all completely worth it, but it shouldn’t be rushed. It matters.

I normally make this while Josh is at work, but since he was home the last time I made it, I had him taste the sauce every hour, so that he could see the delicious progression  of the sauce over the course of the afternoon. He was blown away at the difference between hour 1 and hour 4, even before I added extra seasonings.

Seasoning to taste during hour 1 is a no go. You need to give it time and space for the flavors to develop, and only tinker with it during the final half hour. Trust me, this is the right thing to do.

Bolognese (adapted from The Merry Gourmet)

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Vidalia or other sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons Italian herb seasoning
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cans (26- to 28-ounces each) tomato puree
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Splash of balsamic vinegar (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
  • A few dashes of worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • Pasta

Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat. Add the onion and carrots, and cook vegetables until soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add beef, pork, and a big pinch of salt; cook, stirring often and breaking up any clumps, until meat is fully browned. Add milk and Italian seasoning, stir, and cook until the milk has reduced by at least half. Add the white wine, stir well,  and cook until the wine has reduced by half. Stir in the tomato puree; when the mixture begins to bubble, turn the heat down to low. Simmer for 3-4 hours, stirring more as the sauce thickens.

When the sauce is at the thickness you prefer, start heating your pasta water.

Season the sauce with salt and pepper, and add the optional seasonings. Stir well and let it continue to simmer while the pasta cooks

Cook the pasta until al dente, drain and set aside.

Taste the sauce and make any additional seasoning tweaks.

Serve the pasta with a generous amount of sauce, and add some shaved parmesan if you’d like.

6 thoughts on “Bolognese

  1. Bolognese is honestly so good! I used to be lazy and only cook meat sauce for an hour, and over the summer I cooked it for four and it was absolutely divine. It really does make a difference.


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