RECIPE: HEARTY BEEF BOLOGNESE

I don't think I like anything much more than Bolognese-- a rich meat sauce usually served over pasta. I build my Bolognese with lots of flavor--- and really let it cook down to almost a paste consistency to make it really hearty. You can reconstitute it with stock if you want to thin it out a little before serving. Bolognese, a cold salad, some fresh bread, and a good bottle of wine is a party in my book. 

Hearty Beef Bolognese over pasta

 Prep Time: 15    Cook Time: 1 hour

INGREDIENTS

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 strips bacon or pancetta, diced

1 large onion, diced fine

1 cup carrots, diced very fine or grated

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon fresh thyme- minced (ok use 1/2 t. dried thyme instead)

1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced (ok to use 1/4 t. dried oregano)

Pinch fresh ground nutmeg

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

1 pound ground veal (optional, substitute beef or ground pork if you prefer)

 3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 cups red wine (optional- you can sub beef or chicken broth)

1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes including the juice, crushed

1 can (28 ounces) tomato puree

3 cups beef broth (you can also use vegetable or chicken)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Pinch red pepper flakes

2 bay leaves

Pinch. sugar

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon. fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped fine

1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated or shaved

DIRECTIONS:

Add the olive oil to a large pot and heat. Over medium-high heat, add the bacon and cook until browned. Add the carrots and onions. Cook until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, stirring constantly. Add the beef and the sausage. Cook until the meat is browned, about 5 minutes. Drain off any extra grease. Return to the heat. Add the tomato paste and cook for one minute, stirring constantly over medium high heat. Add the salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, and nutmeg. Allow the mixture to brown well, you will hear some popping and crackling. This is a good thing. Don't stir too often but don't let it burn, either. Cook until a crust forms.

Add 1 cup of the red wine (or use stock if you are not cooking with the wine) and use that to deglaze the bottom of the pan, scraping all of the crust off the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium. Let the wine reduce completely, stirring occasionally. Add the other cup of wine and cook, reducing the liquid until it is almost completely gone. Once the wine has cooked down, add the juice from the whole tomatoes. Reduce the heat. Then crush 6 tomatoes by hand and add them to the pot. Use an immersion blender to puree the remaining tomatoes. Add that plus the tomato puree and half of the beef broth. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly to keep the sauce from sticking on the bottom of the pot. Add the sugar, red pepper flakes, and the bay leaf. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours, stirring frequently. Add more beef broth as the sauce cooks down and becomes thick. You want the sauce to be very thick and paste like but you can add the broth to reconstitute it a bit if you like.

Before serving, remove the bay leaf. Stir in the cream. Serve with the Parmesan cheese over any hot pasta you like. Sprinkle the cheese over the hot pasta, then ladle over the sauce. Top with fresh parsley.

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