Everyday Bolognese

photo(189)“Bolognese sauce, known in Italian as ragù alla bolognese, is a meat-based sauce originating from Bologna, Italy. Genuine ragù alla bolognese is a complex sauce which involves slow cooking using a variety of techniques, including sweating, sautéing and braising. Ingredients include a characteristic soffritto of onion, celery and carrot, different types of minced or finely chopped meat (generally bovine, including beef, and possibly pork, such as pancetta), wine and a small amount of tomato concentrate. In Bologna,  ragù alla bolognese is customarily paired and served with tagliatelle, made with eggs and northern Italy’s soft wheat flour. Acceptable alternatives to fresh tagliatelle include other broad flat pasta shapes, such as pappardelle or fettuccine, and tube shapes, such as rigatoni and penne.” – From Wikipedia 

Now, I typically keep a pretty wide variety of ingredients in my kitchen; I understand not everyone does. It’s difficult to want to make a beautiful pot of bolognese when you feel like you need to spend money on products like red wine, spices and pancetta. It becomes one of those recipes you “hope” to make, but sadly never do.

Well, here’s your chance to make a lovely ragu without all of the worry. I call it Everyday Bolognese because it’s simple to make for any night of the week. The recipe basically calls for items that you would use in regular pasta sauce; items that should be easily found in your fridge and pantry. Once finished, the bolognese is thick but tender with the sweetness of the carrot outshining the acidity of the tomatoes. The original recipe is by Chef Greg Johnson, from AllRecipes. Here’s my adaptation.

Mangia bene, vivi felice!

Everyday Bolognese
Serves: 5
  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1 c. diced Onion
  • 1 TB minced Garlic
  • 1 Carrot, shredded (or two if you'd like)
  • 1 TB dried Oregano
  • 1 t. Garlic Powder
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Salt & ground black pepper, to taste (it will get saltier as the sauce reduces)
  • 28 oz. can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1½ c. Water
  • 3 TB Butter
  • ½ c. Half and Half
  1. Heat a large pot over high heat. Stir in the beef, onion, garlic and carrot. Cook and stir until the beef is crumbly, evenly browned and no longer pink. Drain and discard any excess grease. Stir in oregano, garlic powder, bay leaf and salt & pepper. Add the tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil, cover then reduce heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for 1½ hours. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and half & half. (do not boil once you add half & half or it may break)
  2. Cook choice of pasta according to package instructions and drain.
  3. Either serve sauce over pasta or toss with pasta in a small skillet.
  4. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese if preferred.

**I made the bread sticks out of a simple pizza dough HERE. After baking, brush with melted butter with garlic powder and a crack of black pepper.”



2 Responses to Everyday Bolognese
  1. DB-The Foodie Stuntman
    May 3, 2013 | 1:06 PM

    I have my own recipe for Bolognese but this looks good too. I must be weird because I generally have all the ingredients in the pantry to make one. (I buy cheap wine, substitute bacon for pancetta.)

    • Toni
      May 3, 2013 | 1:37 PM

      In talking with a friend about this recipe, I lovingly titled it as “I’m-low-on-groceries bolognese.” 😀 You would be surprised at how little many people have in their pantries…I have friends who wouldn’t even have oregano on hand…or a can of crushed tomatoes. To you and I, that is STRANGE…but to others, just the idea of pancetta is way to far fetched. Maybe this recipe will be a springboard for someone learning how to make bolognese. :)

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