The secret ingredient in this recipe is time, and lots of it.
If it's 5pm and you're in a hurry to make dinner for tonight, check out our 9 o'Clock Italian Pasta; bolognese is not the recipe you're looking for. If you want an excuse to spend a Saturday at home drinking wine, this recipe is perfect.
Bolognese is proof that you don't need a lot of ingredients or fancy techniques to make an unbelievably flavorful dish. You just need great meat, some basics that are available at any grocery store, and patience.
This recipe yields an extra large batch — enough to sauce 2 lbs of pasta. When it's done cooking, freeze half for a rainy day.
Some alternate ideas:
- Use Ground Lamb in place of the beef or pork (or both). Add a tablespoon of harissa and garnish with fresh mint.
- This recipe can also be made with Beef vs. Bacon, but be sure to adjust your salt as the ground bacon already contains some salt.
- Speaking of bacon...4oz of finely chopped bacon is a fantastic addition.
- This recipe has minimal seasonings, but you can get creative. Hot pepper flakes, thyme, rosemary, and parsley are all good additions.
- If this is too meat heavy for your taste, swap some of the ground meat for finely chopped mushrooms. Add with your other vegetables and make sure to allow extra time for the moisture to evaporate.
Porter Road Bolognese
1 lb Ground Pork
1 lb Ground Beef
1 6 oz can Tomato Paste
3 Carrots, Diced Fine or Grated
3 Stalks Celery, Diced Fine or Grated
1 Medium Yellow Onion, Diced Fine or Grated
2 Clove Garlic, Minced
1 Dry Bay Leaf
1 Pinch Nutmeg
1.5 Cups Dry White Wine
1 Cup Whole Milk
3 Cups Chicken Stock
Brown meat in a large pot over medium-high heat, breaking apart into small crumbles, and seasoning with a large pinch of salt. When brown, set aside and drain excess oil, leaving about 2 tablespoons in the pot.
Cook onion, carrot, celery, and garlic until the excess moisture has evaporated and the vegetables are soft and onion is translucent. This should take about 5 minutes.
Add the meat back to the pot, along with the tomato paste. Stir to incorporate then set your burner to low. From this point forward, you want to maintain a very very low simmer.
Add half the wine, a pinch of nutmeg, and a bay leaf. Allow to cook slowly until the pot is mostly dry. Add the remaining wine, and continue cooking.
Repeat the process with the milk; adding half a cup at a time and allowing to moisture to evaporate before adding more.
Continue cooking on low for an additional 2-6 hours, adding stock half a cup at a time as the sauce dries out. You don't need to babysit too closely. Finish your open bottle of wine, and swing by the stove every 30 minutes to give your sauce a stir and add more stock as needed. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve over pasta, topped with grated parmesan. Pro-tip: After spending all day on this rich and impressive sauce masterpiece, it's worth upgrading your pasta. We used some fresh bucatini from a local friend, Mr. Aaron's Goods.