Bolognese Meat SaucePasta for lunch anyone? We went out for lunch to a new Italian restaurant on the weekend, housed in a lovely old Church building in the Pioneer Valley at Pinnacle on the way to Eungella, and the homely tasting bolognese sauce with homemade spaghetti inspired me to make this recipe. I love the flavours that the pancetta, red wine and milk bring to the dish. I've never used milk in a bolognese sauce before, and I'd love to know if anyone else has, or is it a trade secret of the Italian chef?
Ok, I know, this is another pasta sauce when there are so many out there and I have been cooking them for a long time. This classic Italian meat sauce is my new favourite, and is a speciality of Bologna in Italy. It is minus the concentrated tomato paste which is a standard ingredient in so many recipes and which I think can play havoc with our gut if eaten in combination with lots of extra garlic and onion. So if you feel a little bit off colour the day following a very rich tomato based pasta dish, blame it on the concentrated tomato paste and this could be the sauce for you. Don't blame the red wine, that couldn't be the cause of the discomfort, ha, ha. Of course it doesn't look as red as a lot of the sauces I have made, which Neil observed and which worried me a bit however the proof is in the pudding or the taste as they say. It is delicious. It is a great sauce also for lasagna, and delivers beautifully with any homemade pasta or tagliatelle, fettucine or short pasta such as penne. The other traditional pasta sauce that I make is thicker and and has a heavier tomato base, good for the colder weather perhaps but not as friendly for the sensitive gut.
25 g/1 oz/ butter or 2 tbs. butter
60 ml/4 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
25 g/1 oz/2 tbsp. pancetta or unsmoked bacon, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely sliced or chopped
1 celery stick, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
350 g/12 oz lean minced beef
150 ml/1/4 pint/ or 2/3 cup red wine
120 ml/4 fl. oz or 1/2 cup milk
400 g/14 oz can plum tomatoes chopped, with juice
1 bay leaf
1.5 ml/1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (or use 1 tablespoon fresh basil)
salt and ground black pepper
- Heat the butter and oil in a heavy saucepan. Add the onion and cook gently for 3-4 minutes. Add the pancetta or bacon and cook until the onion is translucent. Stir in the carrot, celery and garlic. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables are softened.
- Add the minced beef and crumble it into the vegetables with a fork. Stir until the meat loses its red colour. Season with salt and pepper. Pour in the wine, raise the heat slightly and cook for 3-4 minutes until the liquid evaporates. Add the milk and cook until it evaporates.
- Stir in the tomatoes with their juice and the herbs. Bring the sauce to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered for 1 1/2-2 hours, stirring occasionally. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary, before serving.