This hearty and meaty sauce originated in the city of Bologna in northern Italy. Made with 4 kinds of meat and gently simmered for at least 2 hours, this is a long, slow savory dish. It's pure comfort food...rich and satisfying, it's perfect for chilly fall or winter nights and ideal for ski trips and team dinners. Just make the sauce ahead and freeze it for easy transport.
Fettuccine with Bolognese sauce is also a wonderful choice for casual dinner parties or a relaxing Sunday dinner at home with the family. Make it ahead and just let it simmer slowly as you get ready for your guests...the aroma is simply tantalizing.
Delightful with a glass of Chianti, a loaf of crusty bread and a crisp green salad.
This also a great pasta recipe for sports team dinners as it will satisfy the hungriest athletes and is loaded with protein and complex carbs for long-lasting energy and endurance. To make serving easier for large groups, replace the fettuccine with penne, farfalle (bow ties, also called butterflies), campanelle (bells) or shells. Keeps well and reheats easily.
Because the sauce requires a lot of ingredients and a fair amount of time, I recommend making a full batch and freezing smaller portions if you don't need to feed 12 people. Also good with tagliatelle.
SEE ALSO: How to Make Lasagna with Bolognese Sauce (video)
SEE ALSO: How to Make Fresh Fettuccine Using a Machine (video)
Fettuccine with Bolognese Sauce
Bolognese sauce is a rich and hearty slow-cooked tomato sauce made with 4 different types of meat. This recipe makes enough for 12 people but the sauce freezes well if you don't need all of it at once. Serve with a bold Chianti, crusty bread and a green salad for a delightful meal. Recipe can be halved. Sauce may be frozen.
- 1/4 lb. prosciutto, diced
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 1 lb. ground veal
- 1 large white onion
- 1 carrot
- 1 rib celery
- 2-4 cloves garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 (28 oz.) cans whole Italian San Marzano plum tomatoes
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1 cup red wine
- A large handful of fresh basil leaves, washed, dried and chopped (reserve a few sprigs for garnish)
- 2 tbs. table salt for the pasta water
- 1-2 tsp. Kosher or sea salt to taste
- fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1 (14.5 oz.) can tomato puree (optional)
- 2 (16 oz.) pkgs. fettuccine (or tagliatelle)
- FRESHLY grated Parmesan cheese for garnish
- Use a large, heavy stockpot or dutch oven for best results.
- Cook the prosciutto over medium heat until crispy, about 10-12 minutes.
- Add the beef, pork and veal and brown gently, stirring frequently to mix ingredients and ensure even cooking, about 30 minutes. Drain off any excess liquid and discard.
- While meat is cooking, dice the carrot, onion and celery and mince the garlic. Combine in a small bowl.
- Once the meat is done, add in the vegetables and the bay leaf and stir. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the tomatoes, including the juice from the can. Crush the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Add half of the basil leaves and season with kosher or sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Reduce heat, cover pot and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. If sauce is very thick, add the tomato puree to thin it a bit.
- About 30 minutes before the sauce is done, put a very large pot of water (8 quarts/liters) on to boil over high heat. Once the water is at a rolling boil, add 2 heaping tablespoons of table salt and add the pasta. Stir gently and cook until al dente (firm to the bite). Reserve a 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water.
- Remove the lid and add the remainder of the chopped basil to the sauce. Mix gently.
- Drain the pasta and transfer to a large serving bowl that has been warmed in the oven (200 degrees for 5 minutes). Add a bit of the sauce and toss gently to thoroughly coat the pasta. Add a splash of the reserved pasta water to smooth out the sauce. Top with additional sauce, freshly grated Parmesan cheese and garnish with basil. Serve immediately.
If you don't have ground veal, just double the beef or the pork. Bacon or ham can be used in place of the prosciutto. If using prosciutto, be careful with the seasoning as this type of Italian ham is very salty.
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