There’s nothing like spaghetti with Bolognese sauce on a chilly winter night...or a pleasant summer evening, for that matter. Particularly this recipe, which is so scrumptious I like to make double batches so I’ll have some to freeze. Okay, first, in case you are clueless (we all are at least once about everything, right?) it’s pronounced bow-la-naze...or close enough. It’s basically a meat sauce but really, it’s so much more. The combination of ingredients creates a wonderfully complex mélange of flavors...ahhh...it tastes really, really good!
This recipe started out on Emeril Lagasse’s website and has trickled down to my Yellow Folder (favorite recipes) relatively intact! Naturally, I had to tweak a thing or two. My husband says I’ve never met a recipe I could follow....he’s so funny, but he’s probably also right!
So, a few TIPS before we begin, or course:
**Food Processor: Yes, you can chop and dice you’re way by hand through all these veges if you like-I have, but not everyone finds that sort of activity as therapeutic as I do. Strangely, some find it tedious. All these veges are ready in seconds(or thereabouts) with a food processor. And yes, you can also use that Slap Chop if you sprung for one of those.
**I love Barilla Spaghetti with this-not the Thin Spaghetti, the regular spaghetti is thin enough. It’s perfect, really.
**I make this in a very large frying pan with deep sides. If you don’t have that, a Dutch Oven/stock pot works fine.
Okay, if you want to compare to Emeril’s original recipe, here’s the link:
Ingredients (all this stuff is going into the same pan..except the spaghetti and parmesan):
6 slices of bacon (Emeril likes pancetta too, but really, who has that sitting around?)
1 1/2 cups chopped white onion (yes, you can use yellow or even red, but it will be completely different! Okay, no, not really... it won’t make much difference, I just like the white onions here. )
1 1/4 cups finely chopped carrots (if you’re trying to keep the kids from knowing there are veges in here, make it super fine, but otherwise it’s nice if you can still tell there are carrots!)
3/4 cups finely chopped celery (ditto the above!)
Salt and Pepper to taste...start with a half teaspoon each and add more later if you like-pace yourself, there’s plenty of salt in the other ingredients and you don’t want to end up with too much, because there’s not going back , baby!
1 lb. lean ground beef (think 90/10)
1 lb. ground pork
1/2 cup Riesling or Pinot Grigio (I’d avoid Chardonnay; it has a bitter taste that I find does not play nice in recipes. Emeril prefers white wine vinegar, but this is so much better!)
1 1/2 Tb. minced garlic
1 and a half small 3 oz. cans of tomato paste
1 Tb. sugar (just a bit of sugar cuts the acidity and brings out the tomato taste.)
3 cups beef broth (if you make this yourself with bouillon, rather than buying it ready-made, be sure not to make it too strong or you’ll risk overdoing it on the salt.)
3/4 cup milk and 3/4 half and half and set aside
Once you have all these ingredients chopped, measured and ready to go, it’s just a matter of going through the steps to a really wonderful meal!
Okay, Let’s Cook!
Cook the bacon in your large pan until crisp. Set the bacon aside on a paper towel to dry and meanwhile, add the onion, carrots and celery to the grease, along with the salt and pepper and cook on medium until the veges are tender and beginning to brown in spots. Don’t overdo it!
Scoop the cooked veges into a dish and set aside, then add the ground beef and pork, and crumble up the bacon and add to the pan. Stir to break it up as fine as you can and brown it evenly.
Add to the meat: wine, garlic, and tomato paste and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the veges back in with the meat and cook a couple minutes more.
Add the beef broth and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 15 minutes. Now add about a third of your milk mixture and simmer 15 more minutes. Repeat this process until you’ve added all the milk. The sauce will get thicker and creamier with every addition.
Meanwhile....heat the water for the pasta. During that last 15 minute interval you can set out your dishes, prepare the pasta, grab the parmesan-and a nice baguette with some butter would be good too. Add pasta to suit to you dish, scoop a generous amount of sauce on top and sprinkle with parmesan. That’s it, no need to add a salad unless you want to. I assure you, this is a meal all on its own--Enjoy!