If I had to choose what my last meal on earth would be, this bolognese is IT. It’s truly my favorite meal and a recipe that is very close to me. I rarely order it at a restaurant because it’s so hard to find a place that makes a good version. Fun fact: besides craving applesauce when I was pregnant, this was the second meal I had to have AT LEAST once a month. There are many versions to bolognese (you’d be amazed at how protective Italians are with their recipes) and after trying a few different ones (not complaining here!) over the years, I came up with this one.
The best part of this recipe is letting the sauce simmer as much as possible. The longer it simmers, the better it gets and the house smells amazing. It’s great for entertaining and it freezes really well. I know I have set high expectations since I declared this as the best bolognese you will ever have in your life…but I’m serious. Consider yourself lucky I’m even sharing the recipe. Once you take a bite, you may have a silent moment and thank me.
I really think I was Italian in another lifetime.
- 1 28 ounce can of plum tomatoes
- 4 ounces of pancetta (chopped finely)
- 1 1/2 lb of ground sirloin
- 1 pound of sweet Italian sausage
- 1 small can of tomato paste
- 2-3 cups of red wine (any will do)
- 2 medium yellow onions (chopped in quarters)
- 4-5 medium carrots (peeled and chopped in quarters)
- 5 stalks of celery (chopped in quarters)
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of fennel seed (I like to crush them lightly in my hand to let out the oils)
- 1 teaspoon of all spice (or cinnamon)
- 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
- 1 cup of whole milk
- A bunch of basil (1/2 cup julienned)
- Heat a big pot (I use my dutch oven) on medium high heat. Drizzle some olive oil and add the pancetta. Cook until crisp then set it aside in a small bowl. Next add the ground sirloin. Using a potato masher, break up the meat. After the meat is broken up a bit, add the Italian sausage. Using a potato masher, break up the Italian sausage (this is so there aren't big chunks of meat in the sauce). Season the meat with the fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, all spice, salt and pepper to taste.
- While the meat is cooking, grab a large food processor and add your carrots, onions, celery and garlic. Pulse the ingredients until they are very finely diced. Add the vegetables to the meat and stir it around so the meat and vegetables are well mixed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the vegetables are softened.
- After the vegetables have softened, add the tomato paste. Stir and make sure everything is coated in the tomato paste. Add the wine into the pot. In a separate bowl pour the plum tomatoes and squish them really well with your hands. Add the tomatoes to the pot and stir it into the sauce. Add the sugar and a cup of water (or two depending on how thick the sauce is at this point for you).
- Stir the sauce and cover the pot. Simmer for 3-4 hours. The longer it simmers, the better it tastes. Stir the sauce every now and then to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom.
- When the time is up, add the milk, the pancetta and basil. Stir everything and serve with your favorite pasta.
- This sauce can make 8-10 servings and is very freezer friendly.
You won’t know what hit you! Cheese not required of course, but I don’t mind it.
I’m a little obsessed. Can you tell?