I love Bolognese sauce and have made the authentic version a couple of times; I’ve used the requisite combination of beef, pork and veal and chopped, sautéed, reduced, braised and simmered the sauce over the course of a few hours to achieve silky, meaty perfection.  But, despite what my parents think, I’m NOT convinced everything needs to be done the long, hard, character-building way.  Driving home on Saturday from errands at 2 pm in the freezing snow, I decided to make a quick version of Bolognese.  What’s Italian for Sacré bleu?

To speed up the prep and cooking time, I used a mini-food processor to very finely chop the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. It resembled confetti when it hit the hot oil and butter mixture and cooked faster than it would have if I had finely chopped the vegetables by hand.



I didn’t skip the traditional steps of reducing the wine and the milk separately, but I did speed those up a little by adding a little less of each than a “real Bolognese” recipe would call for and using my widest pot (and probably a higher heat setting) to speed up the reduction process.  I think the wine and milk reduction steps are to tenderize the meat, so they seemed too critical to skip entirely.


I also used only ground beef, because I was in too much of a hurry to defrost pork and our veal locker is shamefully empty right now.


After simmering for only about 40 minutes, it tasted just as good as one of those several hour-long Bolognese ordeals.  In fact, it was better, because we were eating hot bowls of pasta Bolognese within my two-hour deadline.  It was a delicious lesson that did nothing at all for my character.

– Catherine

Bologn-Easy Sauce

1/2 large onion (or one whole small onion, roughly chopped)

1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped

2 stalks celery, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic

2 Tbsp butter

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 lb lean ground beef

1/2 cup wine (white or red)

1/2 cup milk (not important if whole or otherwise)

3 Tbsp tomato paste

1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp dried oregano

1/8 tsp crushed red pepper

Kosher salt

Combine butter and olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat.  Finely chop carrots, celery, onion, and garlic in mini-food processor (or chop by hand).  Sauté in butter and oil mixture until vegetables begin to soften.  Move softened vegetables to the perimeter of the pot and add the beef, nutmeg and about 1/2 tsp salt.  Stir well, breaking up beef with a wooden spoon. Cover and allow beef to simmer until no pink remains. Add  the wine and stir until no liquid remains.  Repeat with the milk.   Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and the remaining seasonings.  Simmer, stirring occasionally, for a minimum of 40 minutes. Serve over tagliatelle with grated parmesan.  **Save some of the pasta cooking water to thin out the sauce before serving or storing if necessary.

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