Published on January 1st, 2018 | by Catherine Tingey0
The Best Bolognese
The Best Bolognese
Our mouths are a battleground, at least in the 1st world where abundance affords us the luxury to argue and politicize food.
I’m not advocating meat eating or vegetable eating with this post but suffice it to say, that after a decades long estrangement,
I’m in a wet hot love affair with red meat.
Specifically grass-fed beef that’s prepared in this recipe. I won’t go into the health reasons for why I started eating meat again, but if you enjoy red meat on occasion, or even often, this recipe is for you!
In fact, this Bolognese is what I’d like on my death bed, followed by a piping hot Krispy Kreme donut.
Culinary puritans take cover because I’ve borrowed freely for this recipe. There is no milk, wine, bacon or nutmeg in it.
But I can virtually guarantee that this is The Best Bolognese You Will Ever Taste.
Its provenance – like me – is a fusion of East and West and it’s this little pas de deux that makes all the difference.
Made from ingredients that are often on hand, this Bolognese can be made ahead of time, serves 4 heartily and can be frozen.
- 1 lb ground beef (organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised – I like 80/20)
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- **1 med onion (chopped)
- **1 celery stalk, minced
- **1 med carrot, minced
- 2 TSP dried basil
- 2 TSP dried oregano
- 1 TBS crushed red pepper
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 TSP salt
- 1 TSP fresh ground pepper
- sugar to taste (optional)
- *jar/can diced or whole tomatoes (16-18oz)
- *jar/can tomato paste (6-7 oz)
*The tomato product here is really critical. I get my tomato products from Thrive market and they come in glass jars – linked above. I prefer glass jars to cans because of BPA. The Italian sizing is, you guessed it, a little different so it will affect how much liquid you add if you want to thin the sauce later.
**These 3 ingredients are referred to as soffrito, the Italian answer to mirepoix, and are considered the Holy Trinity of Italian cooking. Kinda like soy sauce, sesame oil and corn starch for Asians;)
- 2 TBS soy sauce
- 2 TSP worcestershire
- 1 TSP sugar
- 1/4 TSP salt
Make the marinade in a large bowl. Pick the meat apart with your fingers and use a fork to stir it around, until all the marinade is soaked up. Refrigerate for 15-30 minutes.
In large dutch oven, heat 1 TBS oil of your choice. Add 2 minced garlic cloves plus small handful of chopped onion. Saute 1-2 min.
Add meat and brown on medium high for 5 -7 minutes, stirring frequently. Add salt & pepper.
Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Saute remaining onion, garlic, carrot, celery in rendered fat. Add all herbs (basil, oregano, bay leaf, crushed red pepper). Allow to brown 3-5 min.
Add diced or whole tomatoes and tomato paste. Simmer for 5 minutes. The sauce – believe it or not – will already have a silky unctuousness that is ready to eat, but will still benefit from a covered simmer for 30 min-1 hour.
Note: The recipe as written yields a rich and chunky ragu. If you prefer something thinner, rinse out the glass jars with 1/4 C water each. The flavor profile won’t change as long as you keep the total added water under 1/2 C. Given the different sizes of tomato products, depending on origin and brand, this isn’t an exact science.
Spoon lovingly over zoodles, steamed broccoli, homemade pasta or my favorite: a blend of zoodles and red lentil linguine.