One of life’s truisms is that everyone loves pasta, don’t let them tell you otherwise – that is just an attempt to make you walk away from the pasta bowl to save more for them. Honestly.
Even so, not everyone loves the same kind of pasta. Some like their noodles al dente (“toothy), others mushy (not me!). Some like red sauces, some white. Some red sauces have sugar added, others would rather gnaw on a pine cone. Some choose a smooth marinara, others a chunky Bolognese. This recipe is in that last category, a nice, chunky Bolognese – with no sugar added.
If you follow any of my recipes, you are probably aware that I consider a recipe more of an advisory opinion that a “you must do this….this way….now”. And that is quite true with sauces, partially for the reasons set forth above: everyone has their own preferences. So, here comes by basic recipe. You can add, subtract and substitute all day long and make it your own. But I suggest beginning at the beginning. Make this base, what I consider “essential” recipe, then modify it to your own liking. Oh, and this recipe makes 6 quarts of deliciousness. As you will see below, I use my vacuum sealer to make individual quart bags to freeze for later. They lay flat, and thaw quickly, but you can also use mason jars. I do not suggest storing red sauce in any of your plastic containers (to be honest, I don’t recommend plastic containers at all), because the sauce will stain the containers and depending on quality, you may even end up with a chemical taste in your sauce. Ew. (Jimmy? Jimmy Falon?? Where are you?)
Okay, I can read your mind….get to it, give me the recipe. You’re right, let’s get started.
2 lbs ground 80-85% lean beef
2 lbs ground pork
1 c. cooking onions, chopped
1 c. celery, chopped
1 c. green pepper, chopped (some folks don’t like the added flavor of the pepper, this can be omitted)
6-8 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 c. EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 c. dry red wine
13.5 oz can of quality tomato paste
28 oz. can of whole tomatoes
28 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
28 oz. can of tomato sauce
2 bay leaves
4 large pieces of parmesan rind
Option: 1 Tbsp. crushed red pepper flakes
S&P to taste
In a large stock pot (or 2 6-qt. dutch ovens, which is what I do), heat the olive oil over medium heat and, when hot, add the carrots, onion and celery (the trinity) quickly and at once and stir. Cook for 4-5 minutes, depending on how large your pot is/pots are. Add the garlic and stir. Continue cooking another minute, stirring continuously to soften but not brown the garlic. Add the meat, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook until all of the liquid has evaporated. Add the wine, stir and allow the liquid to fully cook off. Add the tomato paste, stir to incorporate. Add the rest of the tomato products, bay leaves and parmesan rinds. Lower the heat to a simmer, add the optional red pepper flakes if you want a bit of kick, cover and simmer on low for 2 hours. (You should see a bubble pop on the surface every second or so; if it is more active than that, turn down your heat. Remember that having it covered will increase the temperature, so check it after 10 minutes.)
After 2 hours, remove the bay leaves. This makes at least 6 quarts of sauce, so I assume you are freezing some for later. If so, allow the sauce to come to cool to room temperature, then put into your storage bags/jars. I like using the storage bags because they lay flat, saving space.
When you are ready to serve, you can add in fresh chopped herbs like basil and/or oregano. I do not suggest adding the herbs before serving because they lose their flavor and just turn into black specks in the sauce when frozen.
Serve over a good quality pasta and enjoy! Manga Bene.
This recipe makes 6 quarts, some for now, more for later.