Bolognese is more than a sauce. It is a filling and a starter for many delicious and creative dishes. Bolognese freezes well.
2 lbs ground veal
2 oz dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 lb pancetta or bacon, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped (for ease chop in food processor)
2 celery stalks, finely chopped (for ease chop in food processor)
2 carrots, finely chopped (for ease chop in food processor)
5 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup milk (you may substitute goat’s milk or plain goat’s milk yogurt if you have an allergy to cow’s milk)
1 15-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
1 6-oz. can of tomato paste
2 cup dry red wine
2 oz of Strauss Free Raised Glace de Veau (optional: the addition of Glace de Veau will make an even richer Bolognese)
2 fresh thyme sprigs
2 fresh oregano sprigs
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 small package of fresh basil or 3 sprigs, leaves removed and chopped
3 Tbs fresh chopped parsley
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp nutmeg – freshly ground is preferred
Kosher or Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Kitchen twine or cotton string
Cheese cloth or super-fine mesh strainer
Freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese, for serving
- Soak the mushrooms in 1 cup boiling water for 20 minutes until tender. Drain, reserving water to the side, and coarsely chop mushrooms.
- Preheat large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or stock pot over medium heat.
- Add the olive oil and allow it to heat for a minute.
- Add the pancetta or bacon and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add the chopped porcinis, onion, celery, carrots, and garlic; stir to combine and sauté for a couple of minutes.
- Toss in bay leaves and nutmeg.
- Take sprigs of fresh herbs and tie together with kitchen twine. Add tied herbs to pan. (Reserve fresh chopped basil and parsley for later.) Sauté for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring as needed, until the vegetables are very tender but not browned.
- Add the ground veal and sauté until nicely browned. While sautéing, break up clumps of ground veal with wooden spoon or spatula to create finer texture.
- Add the milk and simmer until the liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes. (The acids in milk naturally tenderize the meat and give traditional Bolognese its fine texture.)
- Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, wine and optional Glace de Veau.
- Strain reserved mushroom water through cheese cloth or fine-mesh strainer and add to pot.
- Season with salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat and cover. Slowly simmer over low heat for 1-1/2 to 2 hours, stirring now and then, until the sauce is very thick and reduced. Traditional Bolognese is not very saucy, but meat concentrated.
- Add fresh chopped basil and parsley.
- Taste again for salt and pepper and adjust if needed.
- Your Bolognese is now ready to enjoy over fresh pasta, but there are many more ways you can use Bolognese to create other delicious recipes. Please use these links to view the many ways you can use your Bolognese meat sauce/filling:
The Wonderful Ways to use Bolognese:
Bolognese Over Fresh Pasta: Bolognese is most frequently enjoyed over fresh pasta. Tagliatelle, spaghetti or fettuccini pastas are most commonly used with Bolognese, but enjoy it with your favorites. Serve topped with freshly grated parmesan or Romano cheese.
Bolognese Pasta Sauce Variations:
Bolognese is a wonderful base for creating further other pasta sauces.
Mix 1 part Bolognese with one part favorite marinara sauce and add a some cream. Add as little or as much cream as desired. Stir over low heat until hot. Season with parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Easy ratio is to add about 1 cup of cream to one quart of meat sauce. You can also add sautéed mushrooms and/or zucchini.
Use the above Pink Sauce. Add 1/4 cup of vodka to pink sauce and heat through and simmer until alcohol has been cooked through. Add pinch of cayenne pepper.
Use béchamel sauce as the base and add desired amount of Bolognese. Season with grated parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. All ratios of Bolognese to béchamel sauce are delicious, experiment to discover your favorite. Variations: add your favorite sautéed vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, zucchini, mushrooms, onions.
Risotto topped with Bolognese:
Top saffron risotto, mushroom risotto or other vegetable risotto with Bolognese.
Lasagna with Bolognese is a true Tuscan pleasure.