Bolognese Sauce

I just finished reading the book, “Dinner: A Love Story” over the long Memorial Day weekend (that link is to her blog). It was a fun read and a creative perspective on how your cooking style changes as your family dynamics change. That book coupled with my other recent read, Bread and Wine had my mind fresh on how much I love to cook, but how little I write about what I am cooking these days! I’m still cooking dinner every night in my kitchen even if it’s showing up so much less around here lately.

Today I was reminded of the book because I had a lot of time on my hands (hence this post!). This is a rare thing to have happen! The weather is stormy and hot, the kids are a bit bored, the baby is asleep and dinner is still several hours away. My FIL and niece will be in town tonight also, and I’m not sure if they’ll be joining us for dinner or not. I’d need something that either makes great leftovers or will feed a crowd. All those circumstances married up in my head and gave me the idea to try making a bolognese sauce…from SCRATCH! I made sure I had everything on hand and whaddyaknow? I did! This recipe didn’t hale from either book by the way. Even though…I’m pretty sure there is a recipe in there for something along these lines. Here is where this recipe is from originally. I tweaked it just a scooch.

It took me about 45 minutes to one hour to assemble the ingredients and do all the steps. As I said, I had a lot of time on my hands. This is one of those dishes I think shouldn’t be rushed. And now, we wait! 3 hours to be exact.  I plan to pair this with some fresh-baked bread and salad by the way. Oh and Rigatoni for the vehicle of the sauce. (P.S. I’m kicking myself as I type this because I realize I left out the prosciutto! I even have some! I might saute some prosciutto and mushrooms and toss those in what is already simmering…)

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 package sweet italian ground turkey links (casings removed)
3 ounces prosciutto, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced (I used 2 small)
5-6 white button mushrooms, chopped
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/3 cup red wine
1 cup milk
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
3 cups beef broth
1 bay leaf

Generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt
salted butter

Here are my abbreviated directions:

1. In a LARGE pot (it’s a lot of sauce!) with a few swoops of EVOO, saute sausages (and prosciutto!) over medium-high heat and crumble into small pieces. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside.

2. Add onions and 1 tablespoon of real, salted butter. Lower the heat after about 1-2 minutes and just leave the onions alone! Let them caramelize by cooking low and slow. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside (I just plopped them on top the meat).

3. Add to pan carrots, celery and mushrooms and a bit more butter. Saute until tender.

4. Add to pan the crushed garlic and the tomato paste. Incorporate well into the veggies and allow to cook 1-2 minutes. Add wine and stir well! Add back in the meat, onions, and prosciutto. Cook 1-2 minutes. Add 1 cup milk and stir well.  Allow to cook 1-2 minutes. Add beef broth and can of diced tomatoes (and pray it all fits in your pan). Stir well!

5. Add 1 bay leaf, nutmeg, and some Kosher salt. I used some Brittany Gray salt my sister gave me for my birthday (1/2 tsp).

6. Let this simmer for 3 hours! We’ll see what the verdict is soon.

**After 3 hours of simmering, it seemed like something was missing. So here’s what I added just by taste:

-a splash of balsamic vinegar
-1 tablespoon of sugar
-3 squeezes of dijon mustard

And now it’s AMAZING!

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