Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Pasta Bolognese

Bolognese is one of the most classic of Italian sauces—as well as one of the most delicious. Rich, rustic, and very meaty, Bolognese never fails to satisfy. And it’s easy to make as well.

The sauce commonly includes a base of chopped carrots, celery, onion, and garlic; two or three kinds of ground or chopped meat, such as beef, pork, and pancetta, as in this recipe; and a combination of milk and white wine—sometimes chicken broth—for the liquids.

Unlike many Italian sauces, Bolognese is not tomato-based; however, a bit of crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, or tomato paste is often used for both a little sweetness and a little thickening.

Don’t be daunted by the ingredients list. They’re all common items and simple to prepare. Once everything is in the pot, all you need to do is walk away. Time will take care of the rest.

Serves 5-6

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped peeled carrot
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2/3 lb ground beef (or veal)
  • 2/3 lb ground pork
  • 1/4 lb thickly sliced pancetta, chopped
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 oz. penne (or rotini)
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving (optional)
Vegetables and Garlic
Beef, Pork, and Pancetta
  1. Heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic and sauté until the vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
  2. Add the beef, pork, and pancetta and cook until the meats are browned and some of the juices are absorbed, 11-12 minutes.
  3. Add the milk, wine, and crushed tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover with the lid slightly ajar, and cook slowly until the sauce has thickened, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.
Vegetables and Garlic Beginning to Cook 
Meats Added 
Cooked Meat Mixture
Milk, Wine, and Tomatoes Added 
Cooked Bolognese Sauce
  1. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling, salted water until al dente, 9-10 minutes. Drain.
  2. Add the pasta to the sauce and toss well to combine.
To serve, divide the pasta among 5-6 bowls and pass Parmigiano-Reggiano at the table for grating, if desired.

Pasta Bolognese

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