VEGGIE LOADED CLASSICAL BOLOGNESE SAUCE

Pasta Bolognaise

Believe it or not, bolognese sauce is one of the most difficult pasta sauce I have ever tried to cook. As basic as it may sound, it took me years to find the perfect recipe.

After over 10 total failures, I gave up & for the past year I never cooked bolognese sauce at home. It always came out very watery & very meat-y; you could feel the chunks of minced meat in your mouth & the sauce never stuck to the pasta! NEVER!!

Three months ago; I felt really offended! Seriously?!! Bolognese sauce!! One of the most basic pasta sauces ever!! I challenged myself & my research trip started :)

I know what I was looking for; just needed guidance on the know-how:

The meat needs to be soft; melting in your mouth & totally integrated in the sauce while the sauce itself needs to be thick, rich & sticking to my pasta.

I tasted pasta bolognese in some of my favorite Italian restaurants. I researched almost every bolognese recipe on the Internet & finely reached the main trick!

THE SECRET TO A PERFECT BOLOGNESE SAUCE is to let the sauce simmer UNCOVERED for as long as needed  for it to reduce & thicken meanwhile the meat totally breaks down & blends into it. I never actually simmered the sauce; I just added the tomato sauce, covered the pot for about 5 minutes until the meat was cooked through. MAJOR MISTAKE!!

While testing the recipe & making a couple of batches to reach the final one; another idea jumped into my mind that will make the taste even richer & also increase the nutritional value of the sauce; since the sauce will simmer for a long while, why not add more hidden veggies; they will melt in the sauce (so no veggie pieces in your mouth) taking it to a whole new level!

Nailed it, ha?

After spending years of pure bolognese frustration, I now have a favorite recipe to proudly & happily add to my recipe book.

& finally my kids ate homemade pasta bolognese!

VEGGIE LOADED CLASSICAL BOLOGNESE SAUCE

  • Servings: Sauce for 2 pasta packs (about 800 gm)
  • Time: 1 hr 15 min
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

 

Ingredients:
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery very finely diced (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup carrot grated
  • 1/4 cup red pepper finely diced (see notes)
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 750 gm lean minced meat
  • 1  400 gm can whole peeled tomato (see notes)
  • 1 cup canned tomato sauce (see notes)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme or oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated
  • salt & pepper

 

Directions:

  • Heat a large non stick saute pan on high heat until hot, add 2 tbsp olive & swirl to cover the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the onion, celery, carrots, red pepper & garlic & sautee for about 5 minutes until they start to soften but not brown.
  • Add the minced meat, stirring it with the veggies & breaking it down with the back of a wooden spoon until its totally blended with the veggies.
  • Season the meat/veggie mixture with salt & pepper & cook until the meat is no longer red but not fully cooked.
  • Crush the whole peeled tomato with a fork or give it a couple of pulses in a food processor until chopped/crushed.
  • Lower the heat to medium & add the rest of the ingredients to the pan except the cheese & salt/pepper.
  • Stir the mixture very well to dissolve the tomato paste & blend all the ingredients.
  • Bring the sauce to a boil.
  • Lower heat to low & simmer UNCOVERED for about 40-45 minutes until the sauce reduces & thickens.
  • Turn off the heat. Add the parmesan cheese, stirr to dissolve well then adjust the salt/pepper seasoning.
  • Serve immediately over pasta.

 

Notes:

  • The celery & red pepper should be very finely diced to melt into the sauce & not remain as whole pieces.
  • Using canned whole peeled tomato & tomato sauce is HIGHLY recommended as they have a sweeter taste than fresh tomato. You can find both in any large supermarket.
  • You have to simmer the sauce UNCOVERED not covered for the sauce to reduce & thicken into the right consistency.
  • This recipe can be halved.

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