Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Perfect Bolognese Sauce

I've tried a lot of bolognese recipes. This has been the best one so far. It's Ann Burell's from the Food Network with a few minor tweaks. The whole browning process of the vegetables and the meats is what makes this so flavorful. Trust me, you have to try this! I put this over some tortellini and my kids and everyone else gobbled it right up. Not one leftover! You wont have any either ;)


1 large onion or 2 small, cut into 1-inch dice
2 large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
3 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch dice
4 cloves garlic
Extra-virgin olive oil, for the pan
Kosher salt
1 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1 1/2 pounds of ground pork
2- 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
3 cups hearty red wine
3 bay leaves
1 bunch thyme, tied in a bundle
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
High quality extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing

Preparation Instructions:

In a food processor, puree onion, carrots, celery, and garlic into a coarse paste. In a large pan over medium heat, coat pan with oil. Add the pureed veggies and season generously with salt. Bring the pan to a medium-high heat and cook until all the water has evaporated and they become nice and brown, stirring frequently, about 15 to 20 minutes. Be patient, this is where the big flavors develop.

Add the ground beef and pork and season again generously with salt. BROWN THE MEAT! Brown food tastes good. Don't rush this step. Cook another 15 to 20 minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes and cook until brown about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the red wine. Cook until the wine has reduced by half, another 4 to 5 minutes.
Fill half of the tomato can with water and add to pot. Toss in the bay leaves and the bundle of thyme and stir to combine everything. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. As the water evaporates you will gradually need to add more, about 2 to 3 cups at a time. Don't be shy about adding water during the cooking process, you can always cook it out. This is a game of reduce and add more water. This is where big rich flavors develop. If you try to add all the water in the beginning you will have boiled meat sauce rather than a rich, thick meaty sauce. Stir and TASTE frequently. Season with salt, if needed (you probably will). Simmer for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

Serve over your favorite cooked pasta. Top with remaining grated Parmigiano.

* Adatapted from Ann Burell and Food Network


  1. I make her sauce too - absolutely to die for! Making it ahead of time for a 2 day hut trip in early February. It will freeze nicely and boiling up some pasta is a breeze

  2. Camilla I have froze it also. It comes right back when reheated!

  3. Oh, I've MADE THIS one before! It's been a while, but you're right...browning the meat is key! You made an amazing recipe - congratulations!

  4. Wow, I can see why that one works. I always say 'you can't rush a good bolognese' Bookmarked! Anthony :)