Bolognese Sauce 2.0
Tomato sauce is the quintessential Italian staple. Once you have a good tomato sauce recipe, you’ve got the base for so many different types of dishes: pasta, lasagna, casserole, soup, the possibilities are endless! Since tomato sauce is quintessential Italian, I thought of the most unabashedly Italian movies; Goodfellas and The Godfather and of course, both had a tomato sauce sequence – I can’t make this stuff up. What would a classic Italian dish be without some Sinatra? Nothing. I’m kidding…but only slightly.
I have to confess, my family and I make our own tomato sauce. Yep, we’re THAT family at the end of the summer in our garage stirring up a huge vat of tomato sauce with a giant wooden spoon. Regardless of the amount of work it requires, homemade tomato sauce tastes that much better (editor’s note: I don’t have our family recipe for homemade tomato sauce, but I’m working on it – stay tuned).
Making homemade tomato sauce is just the beginning. My family’s tomato sauce is not ready to serve straight from the jar -our sauce is purely tomatoes with salt and a few fresh basil leaves – it needs to be prepared (read: reduced, seasoned, etc) and I’ve decided to make a bolognese sauce aka meat sauce.
Start by browning the ground beef and pork in a large sauce pot then add your unseasoned tomato sauce (either homemade or store bought) and two cups of water. This will slowly reduce, on medium-low for the next two hours.
This recipe is a little sneaky since I’ve taken this opportunity to hide vegetables in the sauce. It’s a great way to add extra vitamins, fibre and it also provides more flavour. It’s a no brainer. While your sauce is cooking, chop carrots, celery, and onions and sauté the veggies until browned.
Once the cooked veggies are cool or at room temperature, puree with an immersion blender or food processor until smooth (don’t stop until it looks similar to baby food). Add pureed veggies to your sauce and take this opportunity to add your seasonings.
This sauce is perfect for traditional pasta, but I decided to turbo-charge the veggie count on this dinner so I paired it with zucchini pasta! (Stay tuned for the recipe).
Do you have a tomato sauce story? How do you make it at home? I’d love to hear about it. Share it in the comment section or send me an email!
- 2.5 L tomato sauce (unseasoned)
- 230 g celery (about 3 stalks)
- 300 g carrots (about 3 large)
- 1 onion
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 450 g extra lean ground beef (1 package)
- 470 g extra lean ground pork (1 package)
- 500 ml water
- 3 tsp salt
- 1/4 cabernet sauvignon
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1 tsp hot pepper sauce
- In large sauce pan, add 1 tbsp olive oil with ground beef and pork, sauté until browned. Add 1 tsp salt and wine. Cook for 2 mins, to cook off alcohol.
- Add tomato sauce and water to browned meat and cook on med-low
- Wash, peel and chop carrots, celery and onions. Add 1 tbsp of oil to separate pan, sauté vegetables until browned. Set aside until vegetables have cooled to room temperature.
- Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree browned vegetables until smooth.
- Add pureed vegetables to tomato sauce mixture, add remaining seasonings and simmer on med-low heat for about 2 hours or until sauce has reduced to desired consistency
- Serve hot with pasta