Thursday, March 8, 2012

Simple Bolognese

                 Now I know you realize how much in love I am with pasta. But do you know why??? Well, that answer is quite simple- I grew up on it! I can’t remember one week without at least 3 pasta dinners as a kid. My Dad’s specialty was always linguine with oil, garlic, and cannellini beans. Sometimes he would throw in a pinch of red pepper flakes to liven it up, but that was his contribution to pasta nights. My mother, on the other hand, had endless recipes she whipped together and brought to the table. One of her famous ones was what I have always called a, “pot-o-sauce.” Aka, a ridiculously delicious marinara that I have yet to master…..but that’s another post and another day. Her other sauce that I am always, and I mean always, in the mood for is a Bolognese.
                And so that brings us here…..Bolognese Sauce. According to my mother, it should be one of those sauces that sits all day and simmers itself into a thing-of-beauty. Now that is great and all, but rarely do I have whole afternoons available to just sit and tend to a sauce! So what I needed the other night, when I was in the mood for this sauce was something like Mom’s yet quicker. Enter my idol, Giada (DeLaurentiis, of course!). I grabbed one of her many cookbooks I so proudly own and hunted for a Bolognese that might be less time consuming…….and what do you know? She came through and had something for me! And so I tweaked it here and there with some pointers from my Mom and what was created was delicious!  Very hearty and thick while also incredibly sweet from the carrots and celery. I served it over rigatoni and then dolloped our dishes with ricotta. Oh man, it was beyond good! Not to mention, the leftover sauce is already slated to be served over manicotti for us!
               One important note: If you are making this over pasta, be sure to have the pasta ready either right when the sauce is ready or a little after. You can always let your sauce simmer while you wait for the pasta to cook. That way, both your pasta and sauce will be piping hot when ready to serve, which is the way I feel yields the best results!

Simple Bolognese

Adapted from: EveryDay Italian by Giada De Laurentiis.....Food Network has the recipe with slight differences: Simple Bolognese
Servings: makes about 1 quart/serves 4 over 1 lb of pasta

OBJ: TCW be able to combine her mother’s recipe with her idol Giada’s to make a quick version of a Bolognese sauce


¼ C extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
1 carrot, peeled and minced
1 pound meatloaf mix, (beef, pork, veal)
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
¼ C dry red wine
¼ C chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
½ tsp salt, plus more to taste
Ground black pepper
¼ C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ C whole milk Ricotta cheese, (optional)


1. In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium flame. Once hot, add onions, garlic, and a pinch S & P (salt and pepper), cook for about 8-10 minutes or until onions are softened and translucent
2. Add the celery and carrot, mix and sauté for another 5 minutes
3. Turn the flame to high and add the meatloaf mix.  Stir well and sauté until meat is no longer pink, breaking up large chunks, about 10 minutes
4. Add the tomatoes and, using the wine to “clean out” tomato can, pour wine into sauté as well. To that, add the parsley, basil, ½ tsp salt and pepper, stir to combine
5. Lower flame to medium-low, cook sauce for 15 minutes covered over a simmer, then for final 15 minutes cook uncovered over medium flame, stirring often until sauce thickens (about 30-35 minutes total)
6. Stir in cheese, another pinch S &P , and stir well
7. Bring to table and serve over your favorite pasta, then dollop each serving with ricotta, yum!


  1. your mother taught you well !!!!:)

  2. Your Mother taught you well is right. Remember your Mother's Mother taught her and so on, and on. Tradition.

  3. YUM! Can't wait to try this.