Beef · Main Courses · Pasta · Pork

Bolognese Sauce

BologneseA family favourite in our house, and so easy to put together.  It does take time, so its a good ‘Sunday afternoon when there is nothing much to do’ project.  The good news is that the flavours are even better the next day, so make on Sunday to enjoy later in the week.  After a long day at the office, dinner will be a snap!  Just boil your favourite pasta and you have a quick and easy mid-week dinner.  This serves 8 generously, and freezes very well.


Bolognese Sauce


3 Tablespoons oil

2 yellow onions, diced

5 celery ribs, diced

3 medium carrots, shredded

6 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 lb bacon finely chopped

1 lb lean ground beef

1 lb lean ground pork

1 can tomato paste (6 oz)

14 oz can tomato puree

1 cup dry red wine

1/2 cup water

1 cup milk (whole milk is best, but skim will work too, if that’s what you have)

1/4 teaspoon sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Get your big pot out… not that one, the bigger one – 6 – 8 quarts.   There is lots of stirring and simmering involved here and you will want the extra room a larger pot gives you.

Heat oil in pot over medium heat.   Add onion, celery, carrot and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium heat until onion is translucent and vegetables are slightly soft.  Do not let them brown.  About 15 minutes.

Increase heat to medium- high, add bacon, beef and pork and cook, stirring to break up  any chunks until meat is no longer pink.  About 10 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium and stir in tomato paste  until well combined with meat and vegetables.  About 2 minutes.

Stir in tomato puree, wine, water, milk, salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered until liquids reduce and sauce is thickened.  About 2 hours.  Remember to stir occasionally while sauce simmers.

Spoon over cooked pasta and serve immediately or cool sauce uncovered, at room temperature.  Once sauce has cooled, cover and refrigerate.  Will keep  3 days in the fridge or frozen up to 3 months.




Cacio & Pepe

img_16311Cacio y Pepe  is the official name.  In our house, we just call it Cheese and Pepper Spaghetti.  That prevents  a lot of blank stares when I tell people its what we are having for dinner.

The parmesan needed in this recipe is the kind you will grate off of a hard triangle of cheese.  Not the stuff in the green container labeled Kraft.  That is fine for sprinkling on pizza, but you will not get the same kick from this recipe without the real cheese.

Same goes for the pecorino.  The bag of pre-shredded 4 cheese blend will not cut it here. to fully appreciate this recipe, you need the good ingredients.  This is actually one of the few times I do NOT recommend substitutions.


Pepper and Cheese Spaghetti

6 oz spaghetti

3 Tablespoons butter, divided

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper

3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup grated Pecorino cheese

Cook spaghetti in large pot of boiling, salted water until about 2 minutes before it is fully done.   Scoop out and set aside 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water, then drain pasta.

In same pot you just took the spaghetti out of, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat.  Add olive oil and pepper, swirling pan until pepper is toasted, about 1 minute.

Add 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water and bring to simmer.  Reduce heat to low, add pasta, remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, and the parmesan cheese.   Using tongs, toss until cheese is fully melted and evenly coats spaghetti, and spaghetti is fully cooked – about 1 minute.

Add the Pecorino and a bit more of the reserved pasta water if mixture seems too dry.   Toss just to mix, then serve immediately.

Serves 2 as a main course.

Incase you don’t have a scale, this is what 6 oz of dried spaghetti looks like in your hand

TIME SAVER – put the pasta pan in to soak while you eat for easier clean up.