Friday, August 3

The Perfect Bolognese

The best bolognese you'll ever have, made with three kinds of meat and slow cooked for hours

Zakarian Best Bolognese Sauce

I’m all about eating local, seasonal produce but sometimes I’ll get a craving for something totally different. So even though the skies are blue and the market is full of peaches, tomatoes, and sweet corn, I made a three-hour bolognese sauce. I’ve featured a quick-cooking bolognese here, but this version is the perfect thing to cure a craving and full of vegetables and three types of meat. The variety of ingredients and slow cooking creates a rich, flavorful sauce that’s super complex (and addicting). It takes a bit of time and effort to make, so I created a huge patch and froze the leftovers for when the weather gets colder. 

The Perfect Bolognese:
  • Soak 1/2 c. dried porcini mushrooms in 2 c. chicken stock until plump, then dice.
  • Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in each of two large pots over medium-high heat.
  • In one pot, add in 1/4 lb. diced pancetta, 1 diced onion, 1 diced carrot, the porcini, 1 diced celery stalk, and 4 cloves of minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
  • In another pot, add in 1 lb. ground pork and 1 lb. ground lamb, breaking up with a spoon and stirring so that the meat doesn't stick. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook the meat for 15 minutes, or until evenly browned, then stir in 4 tbsp. tomato paste and cook for another 5 minutes.
  • Let the vegetables cook for the same amount of time, or until deeply browned. De-glaze the pan with 1 c. red wine, then pour into the pot with the meat.
  • Add in another 1 c. wine and scrape the bits from the bottom of the pan. Let sauce reduce for 5-10 minutes.
  • Add in the chicken stock,* 1 c. milk, 28 oz. crushed San Marzano tomatoes, and the rinds from two wedges of Parmesan cheese.**
  • Let the sauce simmer for 2 hours, or until thick and rich.
  • Stir in a handful of shredded basil leaves and turn off the heat. Remove the rinds.
  • Serve over pasta or polenta.

Serves twelve
*I drained the stock into a bowl covered with a paper towel to remove any grit from the porcini.
**I save all my rinds in a bag in the freezer to use in sauces and soups.