Pasta Bolognese

Bolognese = Meat sauce.

Meat sauce = Delicious.

Therefore, Bolognese = Delicious.

If you’ve ever eaten bolognese before, I don’t need to tell you how good it is. However, I’ve made bolognese sauce a lot and for some reason, I never really thought any of them were special. They never satisfied my expectation of how it should be made. That recently changed when I learned a technique for making amazing bolognese and it’s so simple. It’s all hinged on the idea of browning. You want to brown the vegetables and meat really well. The browner it is the better. All those brown spots that get stuck to the bottom of the pan is 100% flavor. And instead of leaving the vegetables coarsely chopped, you’re going to blend them all up together, forming a paste-like mixture. As long as you use good meat, I guarantee that anyone can make it, I don’t care how bad you think you suck at cooking, this is basically fool-proof. It is seriously only a few simple steps and a little wait time. There is nothing advanced or difficult about it. I dare you to try it.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Lbs Freshly Ground Chuck. I intended on using ground lamb but they hand none. You could use lamb and ground pork no problem. Get a good quality meat, please, I made this with a packaged organic ground beef once and it was awful. It really makes a difference.

1 Lb Pasta. Use any kind you like, I used fresh Penne but it really doesn’t matter.

3 Celery Stalks, Chopped

2 Medium Sized Carrots, Chopped

1 Large Onion, Chopped

4-5 Garlic Cloves, Chopped

2 8 oz Cans of Tomato Paste

Handful of Fresh Thyme

1 Cup of Marsala Wine

1-2 Cups of Vegetable Stock

Heavy Cream

Parmigiana Reggiano Cheese

Butter…or Truffle Butter

Salt & Pepper

Olive Oil

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You are going to chop your vegetables but they don’t have to be perfect because you are going to want to use a blender or food processor to blend them all together to sorta make a very coarse vegetable paste.

Slice off the top of the onion, keeping the root intact, and slice the onion in half and peel it. Make a bunch of slices across the top of the onion and then run your knife through the it and it will be nicely chopped no problem.

Cut the ends off the carrots and shave the skin off with a vegetable peeler. Slice it in half and then slice each piece in half again, then chop it up.

Make sure the celery is washed clean and slice each stalk in half and then chop it up. All the vegetable should be roughly the same size.

Smash the garlic, remove the skins and then chop it all together to help it just a little big in the blender then add it to the rest of the vegetables.

Get out your blender/food processor/little hand thing I have here. If its bigger than this thing, add as much of the vegetables as you can and blend it up into a thick pasty mixture.

Put the burner on medium-high and in a large skillet of sauce pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil, add the vegetable mixture. You want to cook that for about 15-20 minutes. The idea is to really brown the bottom of the pan. The vegetables aren’t burning, they are caramelizing and all the dark brown stuck to the bottom of the pan in the picture below is going to give your sauce mad flavor. Brown is good.

After about 20 minutes, add the ground beef. Same idea here, you want to brown the beef.

Cook it for another 15 minutes and it should look crumbled and brown with a bunch of brown delicious flavor really stuck to the bottom of the pan. If the bottom of the pan is entirely brown, you should be really happy about that.

There should already be sufficient flavor just sizzling stuck to the surface of the pan but to give it that thick tomatoey flavor, I like to add tomato paste instead of canned tomatoes. When you add tomato paste and you mix it up with everything in the pan, it will caramelize even more, and thus, creating even more slammin flavor. Cook that for another 5-10 minutes until it becomes a dark red but not black.

Now pour in the roughly a cup of wine, if you want a little more go ahead, I usually do. Cook that until it reduces by about half, around 3-4 minutes. Then add enough vegetable stock to cover the meat and add a tied up bunch of fresh thyme.

Cook that for about 45 minutes to an hour, you could cook it longer if you want but it’ll be yummy either way. If it looks like its reducing too much, add a cup of water at a time. You may have to add 1-2 cups of water throughout the cooking process but it may vary. Also, about halfway through the cooking process, you can remove the thyme bundle, it has done its job.

It should pretty much look like this.

The sauce is perfect just like that, but I’m gonna add a few more things to top it off. Before you do that, since you are making pasta, you should have gotten a big pot of water boiling sitting on the stove. First off, heavy cream. I don’t know how much I used but I made this bulls-eye out of the cream to help you eye it out…you like that don’t you?

I just so happened to have some leftover holiday truffle butter layin around so obviously I’m going to use it. Look at those chunks of black truffle just chillin in that butter. If you’ve never had truffles, I highly suggest you invest in a bottle of white truffle oil. It will cost you about $15 but it will last you an entire year. Only use a few drips at the end of cooking.

Here, since I had the truffle butter, I just added a big spoonful of it to the sauce and slowly melt it in.

Since I used fresh pasta, it only takes about 2-3 minutes to cook so I did that last minute. Depending on what pasta you use, cook it for about two minutes less than the box says to, drain and than add the pasta back to the pot. Spoon a bunch of sauce into the pot and stir to combine, cooking until the pasta is nice and al dente, if you don’t know what al dente should taste like, think of it this way…if you cook the pasta all the way the pasta will be a flimsy mess that you can’t even pick up with a fork. Al dente should taste like it has a little chew to it but doesn’t taste raw at all. You want it to have a little body but still taste cooked. Once its cooked, add a big handful of parmesan cheese and plate that delicious pot of brown pasta.

When you plate the pasta, make sure you add another spoonful or two of the sauce over top, you can never have enough. Top it with some more cheese and you definitely need a good piece of bread to wipe that plate clean.

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