March 10, 2009

Ragu alla Bolognese

During my time here in Italy, I feel that I have made some serious progress in my homemade spaghetti sauce. I no longer buy the canned kind, mostly because many of them contain gluten. And it is a very tedious process to read labels in Italian, French, or German and try to decipher if that word is modified starch made of carob beans or if it is in fact made from wheat. Let me just say every time at the store is a reading adventure! I have just found that it is easier to create my own sauce from scratch, whether it is a plain marinara sauce or a little more elaborate. I also make a lot of batches of bolognese or meat sauce for my boyfriend, as he is constantly eating pasta before practice, before games, before road trips, and really just anytime he feels like it. So over the past 7 months I have tweaked and twisted this sauce to be something that I believe is an excellent bolognese sauce.

Bolognese Sauce

~500-600g ground beef (1 1/2 lb)
~3 cans crushed tomatoes
~3 cloves garlic, minced
~1 yellow onion, chopped
~8-10 leaves fresh basil or 1 Tbs dried basil
~1 Tbs. dried oregano
~1 tsp. fresh thyme
~1 tsp. sugar
~1/2 cup red wine, any kind
~salt and pepper to taste
~1/2 tsp. sugar

Brown the meat with the onion in deep pot. When meat is almost done, add in minced garlic. Cook until there is little grease remaining in pot. Add in crushed tomatoes. Then fill each can with a slight amount of water to clean and add this to pot. Stir in spices and sugar, also adding about a 1/2 tsp. salt to start and a few good pinches of pepper. Then finish off by adding in 1/2-1 cup of any red wine you have available. I usually use whatever is available in my kitchen at that moment. Let the sauce simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Try sauce and add more spices if needed. I constantly tweak the sauce as I cook it. Let it cook for another hour and then test again. If needed, add in more spices, salt, and/or pepper. Finally, I usually cook the sauce for 2-3 hours and it is absolutely perfect. Serve over pasta, gnocchi, or even use in Lasagna!

No comments: