BOLOGNESE

This sauce needs no introduction, every November I begin to crave this sauce. It’s warm, comforting, and full of rich flavors. If you’ve only got one hour for this sauce, tutto bene (it’s all good). If you’ve got three hours this will be the best bolognese you’ve ever made. I encourage you to find your own signature spin on this sauce, make it yours, a recipe that everyone will ask you to share and in turn, invite others to do the same. I always add a finely chopped bulb of fennel in my soffritto, freshly ground nutmeg and cumin, aromatic herbs and a splash of white wine.

Ingredients

Serving: makes about 4 c of cooked sauce.

  • 1lb grass-fed beef or ground pork (a 50/50 mix is the best)

  • 1/4 c give or take of chopped pancetta
    (if you don’t have that, save your pan drippings from Saturday morning bacon in the fridge for months)

  • 1 c chopped yellow onion

  • 3-6 garlic cloves finely chopped

  • 1 small fennel bulb

  • 1 c chopped carrots

  • 1 c chopped celery

  • 1/2 whole ground nutmeg

  • 1 pinch chili flakes

  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme or sage

  • 1 can San Marzano crushed tomatoes

  • Extra virgin olive oil, flakey sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, fine sea salt

  • 1 c dry white wine

  • Optional: 1 c whole milk

1 c dry white wine

Method

In a large cast-iron pot or stainless-steel pot, brown your pancetta with a bit of olive oil. If you can’t find pancetta, you can use bacon, or pork fat pan drippings saved preserved in the fridge. Sweat your soffritto (onions, carrots, celery) and fennel to the pancetta or pork fat until translucent, don’t brown or caramelize. Add the garlic, and give it a few stirs. Add a pinch of fine sea salt, nutmeg, cumin, and chili flakes. This is where you will build the most flavor by adding your herbs & spices now you release the flavors into everything that you are cooking.

Add your ground meat to the pot, using a fork to break up the clumps so the meat browns. Once your meat is browned you can add 1 c of whole milk if you are using. Wait for the liquid to be absorbed completely by the meat. If you are not using milk, skip to adding your white wine, let it simmer until the wine has evaporated. Then stir in the tomatoes and wait until the sauce begins to bubble and reduce your heat to the lowest setting. Allow to simmer for at least 45 minutes, if you can wait let it simmer for 2.5. hours. The longer you let it set, the richer it becomes.

Serve over pasta or spaghetti squash, with heaps of Parmesan and a dollop of goat cheese