Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Spaghetti Bolognese

Okay, so I figure it is about time to post a recipe. This is one of my favorite things to cook. I have adapted my grandmother's recipe. Her recipe came from my family from Italy and I have just added a couple of things to adapt to my taste. The yield is about 8 servings.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces bacon or pancetta, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions (about 1 medium)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (about 1 medium carrot)
  • 1 cup diced celery (about 1 stalk)
  • 1 cup diced sweet pepper ( I like yellow ones for color)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 pound ground beef or ground veal
  • 1/2 pound pork sausage, removed from the casings, or ground pork, or substitute for any neutrally flavored leftover meat in the frig (chicken works good)
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes and their juice
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup beef or chicken stock or broth
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 1/2 pounds spaghetti
  • 1 cup each freshly grated Parmesan, and Mozzarella

     In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until browned but not crisp and the fat is rendered, approximately 4 to 6 minutes. Add the onions, carrots, celery, peppers and cook, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, pepper, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the beef and sausages or other meat and cook, stirring, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, to deglaze the pan and remove any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pan, and until half of the liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes.
     Add the remainder of the tomatoes and their juices, the tomato sauce, broth, and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the sauce is thickened and flavors have melded together, about 2 hours. Add the cream, butter, and parsley, stir well, and simmer for 2 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

     Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water with a couple teaspoons of olive oil added to a boil. Add the pasta and return the water to a low boil. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent the noodles from sticking, until done, 10 to 12 minutes. Drain in a colander.

     Add the pasta to the sauce, tossing to coat. Add 1/2 cup of the each cheese and toss to blend. Divide among pasta bowls and serve with the cheese passed around.

For making meatballs to add instead of meat in the sauce I will add a variation later.

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