Ragu Alla Bolognese

There is nothing like the smell of a great tomato sauce on the stove. Bubbling away for hours and teasing you by taking its sweet time getting delicious. And then, the magic. A meaty and gorgeous sauce over silky noodles is heaven and so perfect for a winter meal. This bolognese is one of my favorite for a few reason. One being that it makes a huge pot that freezes well and can be served for months. It also does not require a ton of ingredient, but does include some vegetables for depth and health? ha It is great on pasta, served in a big bowl with crusty bread, or even on top of soft polenta. Time to tuck in. 

Ragu alla Bolognese
Cristina's Tuscan Table, 2007
makes 1 gallon (freezes great and feel free to half or quarter the recipe, cooking times will be shorter)

3 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground lean pork
3 1/4 cups red wine, divided
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, minced*
1 large carrot minced*
2 stalks celery, minced*
3 cloves garlic, minced *Note: to save time, mince the veggies in the food processor
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
1 cup diced pancetta (about 1/2 pound)
salt and pepper to taste
3 bay leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
18 cups canned tomato puree (I used crushed), about 5- 28 oz cans
pinch of hot red pepper flakes

In a bowl, marinate the beef and pork in 1 3/4 cups wine and refrigerate at least 3 hours.

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil. Add the minced onion, carrot, celery, garlic, and parsley and saute over medium high heat until onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add the marinated meat, pancetta, salt and pepper. Cook uncovered, stirring with a wooden spoon until meat is browned, about 30 minutes.

Add remaining 1 1/2 cups wine and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add the bay leaves and tomato paste, and cook 2 more minutes. Stir in the tomato puree and red pepper flakes, and simmer, covered, for 2 hours. Salt and pepper to taste.

Note: You could easily put this in the slow cooker to bubble as well if you cannot man the stock. 


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