You know a dish is really really good when you look forward to leftovers while cleaning the dishes. Another sign that it’s that good is right before cleaning said dishes, you sneak just a little more of the savory sauce from the side of the pan while nobody is looking…you know you’ve done it. This is one of those dishes. Bolognese is often overlooked as just another “red sauce,” but it’s so much more. The flavors in this succulent sauce from Bologna, Italy will blow other “red sauces” out of the water. There are many versions of bolognese, but we created ours by featuring bold flavors we love and incorporating techniques from different recipes, including Anne Burrell’s and Michael Symon’s. It’s a budget friendly meal that is sure to have your family shouting “Bravo!”
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
4 gloves garlic, chopped
1 cup baby carrots
1 lb. ground beef
Freshly ground black pepper
6 oz. tomato paste
28 oz. San marzano tomatoes
1 cup red wine
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon oregano
1 lb. egg noodles or tagliatelle
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Place celery, onion, garlic, and carrot in a food processor and blend on high until minced. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Transfer minced vegetables to the dutch oven and add two large pinches of sea salt. Saute for about 15 minutes, scraping brown bits from the bottom constantly. No, you’re not burning the bottom, it will deglaze later.
Add the beef and another pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for another 10 minutes, again scraping brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
Add tomato paste and brown for another 5 minutes. Next, add the wine and scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook for 3 minutes. Then, add marzano tomatoes and juice from the tomato can. Crush tomatoes with your stirring spoon and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
Stir in three cups of water, bay leaves and oregano. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for at least an hour (we simmer ours all afternoon). If your sauce becomes too thick, add more water and cook it out again. Repeat this process a couple of times until you are ready to eat.
Fill a large stock pot with water and salt liberally. Bring to a boil. Cook egg noodles or taglietelle just shy of the recommended time on the package. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water when pasta is drained.
Take four cups of the sauce out of the dutch oven and place in a small saucepan, over low heat. Transfer drained pasta (slightly undercooked) to the dutch oven. Stir in the 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water. Add butter and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Serve bolognese hot and top with reserved sauce. Finish with Parmesan cheese.