While homemade bolognese may sound like a long process that can be overwhelming, it’s not actually a hard recipe to make. Bolognese is a delicious, flavorful meat sauce that works so well when paired with pasta. And while this recipe is not truly traditional, it’s packed with so much flavor that you’ll want to make it time and again!
Add the chopped onion, celery, and carrot to a food processor. If using a smaller processor, work in batches. Pulse the vegetables until they are finely minced. The pieces should ⅛-inch or smaller. Separately, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, add the prepared vegetables and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook the vegetables until they are softened and slightly darker in color, 8-12 minutes.
1 medium onion, 2 ribs celery, 2 large carrots, 3 tbsp unsalted butter, 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
Add the garlic and stir into the vegetables, cooking for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the ground beef and ground pork. Cook and break the meat into small pieces until it is browned through, 6-8 minutes.
4 cloves garlic, ½ lb ground beef, ½ lb ground pork
Pour in the milk. Simmer the milk with the meat until the milk is nearly all cooked off and dry, 6-8 minutes. Add the nutmeg and stir.
1 cup whole milk, ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Pour in the wine and simmer until the wine is nearly all cooked off, 6-8 minutes.
1 cup red wine
Add the tomato paste and stir into the vegetables. Cook the tomato paste until it darkens and begins to coat the bottom of the pan, 6-8 minutes. Add the black pepper and remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Break apart the tomatoes with a spoon or scissors. Pour in the tomatoes and juice, Parmesan rind, and bay leaves. Bring the sauce to a simmer.
1 ½ tsp kosher salt, 3 tbsp tomato paste, 1 tsp black pepper, 1 28-oz can whole tomatoes in their juice, 1 4-inch Parmesan rind, 3 whole bay leaves
Simmer the sauce, uncovered, for 1-3 hours. The flavor will deepen the longer it is simmered but will be delicious after 1 hour. If simmering for longer than 1 hour, watch carefully and add water as needed when the sauce becomes dry, ½ cup at a time.
Before serving, cook the pasta al dente. Once cooked, remove the Parmesan rind and bay leaves from the sauce, and add the pasta to the sauce along with pasta water as needed to create the correct consistency. Serve with freshly grated parmesan cheese.
1 lb pasta
One of the best things to make anyone a better cook is to season as you cook. For this recipe, adding the salt right away when cooking the vegetables will cause you to have a better-tasting dish and use less salt in the end.
For this recipe, the whole tomatoes in their juice need to be crushed. This can be accomplished by either using your hands to break up the tomatoes or using scissors to slice the tomatoes. Use whichever method is preferable. I personally love to use scissors to achieve the result I want. While crushing the tomatoes, remove any pieces of peel that are visible, as these will affect the resulting texture of the bolognese sauce.
To source the Parmesan rinds in this recipe, check at your local grocery store. The cheese counter is a great location to begin before moving on to other areas of the store. If you can’t find Parmesan rinds by themselves, purchase some fresh Parmesan cheese and cut off the rind.
For the most intense flavor in this bolognese, simmer the mixture for up to 3 hours. The longer the mixture cooks, the more flavor will be imparted into the sauce. Cooking for a longer amount of time may require a bit of water or stock to be added every so often.
Once the pasta is added to the sauce, if the mixture seems too thick, simply use some of the pasta water to thin it out.