There are a few things that you always, always find in my freezer no matter what season. Bolognese or Meat sauce is definitely one of them. My love for this recipe comes from the time when I lived alone in Chicago in a brand new condo that I could hardly afford and had to think of ways to stay out of restaurants so I can pay it. One of the things I would do is cook up a big batches of things and throw them in my freezer so then at any given moment I could have a home cooked meal and not worry about breaking a budget.
This is not the traditional Bolognese sauce since that one usually includes some milk/cream and pancetta/bacon and mine does not. It is my kids favorite and at times I do secretly hope that some of the wine did not cook off and they will sleep better. But it never happens.
You will need: 2 lbs of meat of your choice (I use 1lb pork and 1lb ground beef), 2 1/2 lb roma tomatoes, 1 medium onion, 2 medium carrots (I only had baby carrots so I used those), 1 medium celery, 5 garlic cloves (minced), 2 tbs tomato paste, 1 1/2 cups dry white wine, 3 cups chicken stock, handful of fresh oregano, thyme, basil (6-7 leaves), olive oil, salt and pepper, crushed red pepper (optional for those heat loving individuals)
Warm up about 1 tbs olive oil on the skillet (use the biggest one you have) and throw in the meat, season with salt and pepper, and cook until lightly browned.
When the meat is cooking roughly chop the onion
quarter the tomatoes and remove the mushy stuff in the middle, does that stuff have a name. Seeds? Remove the seeds?
roughly chop them also, we will have to wait a little bit to use them
When the meat is brown remove from the pan using a slotted spoon or colander and set aside
You can also try this circus trick of pouring the grease into the sink without any meat falling out. In the old times we used a plate to cover the meat so it wouldn’t fall but the juice would seep through, now I am much wiser and try to balance. I don’t need no stinking plate, and certainly do not need any more additions to my overflowing sink. Thank goodness for garbage disposal.
Heat 3 tbs of oil in the same pan and add onions, carrots and celery. Sometimes to throw myself off I add a bay leaf. I am still not sure if it makes any difference. Maybe if you have a refined palate which I certainly do not.
Cook until the vegetables start to color about 8 min. Add tomato paste and garlic and cook for few more minutes
Deglaze the pan with white wine. What does that mean?
You pour enough wine to cover the food, scrape the bottom of the pan and wait till it evaporates
in an meantime pouring yourself the rest of the wine
When the wine has evaporated, see how there is no liquid in the pan
Add the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes
have another couple of sips of your wine and roughly chop the herbs. You are done with chopping so put the knife away, just in case, and have another sip. Do you understand now why this is everyone’s favorite meal?
When tomatoes become softer add the stock
reserved meat and herbs
Cook until the sauce thickens slightly. Approximately 30 minutes. Stir in the basil and red pepper flakes at this time, adjust seasoning.
You can serve it over your favorite pasta. This is certainly not it. It is really good but it has made its way to my house somehow and it is not kid friendly. My kids love it with macaroni or regular spaghetti. If you want to make it super fun buy some puff pastry and place the meat in there before sealing and cooking.
Since I have small kids I blend the meat sauce. This is also a great way to eliminate the super picky eaters from picking our the carrots.
I usually make enough to feed a small army. Very small people army, for a week. I put them in take out containers or plastic bags so there is enough sauce for one serving. This way all I have to do is to open the lid and pop in the microwave. The pasta will take about 5 minutes to cook so on any given day you will have a meal ready in about 5-8 minutes max, and that may even include doing the dishes.
Now for people like my loving husband that comes home with cans of Chef Boyardee, I am really sorry to say this but this is much, much, much better. And as long as there is frozen meat sauce in my freezer it is going to the dogs. I don’t care if it doesn’t expire till 2028 and can survive a nuclear attack. I am not touching it.