Easy Bolognese Sauce
One of my favorite sauces to make and keep frozen on hand for busy weeknights. The flavor profile of this particular recipe is so rich and delectable, you'll forget how simple it is to make.
This particular recipe does simmer for some time to help capture those rich flavors, so put it on in the afternoon if you plan on enjoying for dinner that night.
Easy Bolognese Sauce
1 medium to large onion, quartered
2 celery stalks, chopped in 1/3rds
2 medium carrots, chopped in 1/3rds
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb ground beef (80% lean), pat dry and salt/pepper
3 oz cubed pancetta (I usually buy a small package from the deli section in the grocery store)
1 cup dry white wine (don't skimp)
1/3 cup tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
Pasta Recommendation: pappardelle, fettuccini, or fusilli
Garnish Recommendation: fresh chopped parsley and grated parmesan
In a food processor, pulse the onion, celery and carrot until very finely chopped (like minced meat). Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot (like a Dutch oven) over medium heat. Add in ground beef and break up into small pieces as it cooks. Season lightly with additional salt.
Cook the beef until lightly browned but not crispy, 6-8 minutes. Be sure to continue to break up the beef into small pieces. Using a slotted spoon, remove beef from pot and set aside in a bowl.
Add pancetta to pot, stirring occasionally until pancetta is crisp, about 6-8 minutes. Add in onion, celery and carrot mixture, and cook until vegetables are very soft, stirring occasionally. Once the veggies begin to stick to the bottom, about 6-8 minutes, add back in the beef.
Pour in the wine, allowing it to deglaze the bottom of the pot. Reduce the heat to medium-low and push the beef into the wine with a wooden spoon, for about 10 minutes or until the wine is mostly evaporated. The meat should be broken into VERY small pieces by this point.
Add in the tomato paste, bay leaf and nutmeg. Stirring occasionally, cook until the tomato paste is slightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Pour in chicken broth and milk; add another pinch of salt.
Reduce the heat down to the lowest setting and cook the sauce, uncovered, about 2-2.5 hours. The meat will become very tender. Be sure to occasionally stir the sauce around, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pot. The heat should be so low that there is an occasional bubble released, but the sauce is not consistently simmering bubbles.
Once the time has passed, discard the bay leaf and adjust the flavor with any salt or pepper.
When ready to serve with pasta - keep 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid and return pasta to its pot. Add as much of the sauce as needed to the pasta, 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese and combine. Should the sauce look too thick, add in some pasta water.
We used a package of fresh pappardelle pasta from a local spot in Astoria, Cassinelli, would highly recommend! This bag was less than $5 and tasted amazing.
Serve with more parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley!