spaghetti-(complete comfort)-bolognese

ever since i can remember spaghetti (as in bolognese) has had a special place in our lives. it’s probably one of the first foods i ever (almost instinctively) learned to make, and it always means one thing above all: comfort. every time i make it, i double the recipe, and freeze a portion for one of those typically busy days when it comes to my rescue. there are probably thousands of (really good) recipes for this all time favorite-all the same, i thought i’d share mine (equally good, i think). there is a rather long list of ingredients, but it’s actually very simple to put together-my recipe has changed slightly over the years, and i often add or subtract items based on what i have available, but the core recipe is as follows:

ingredients (to serve 6):

  • 1 pound (or so) grass fed organic minced beef (or veal, or a combination of)
  • 1 medium to large onion (cubed)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 large organic carrot (about 1/2 cup finely chopped)
  • 3-4 stalks of organic celery (1/2 cup finely chopped)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1-2 tsp paprika
  • sea salt & cracked pepper to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • small bunch of flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)
  • small bunch fresh basil
  • small bunch fresh oregano (or 2-3 tsps good dry)
  • 2-21/2 cups good stewed tomatoes or good quality tomato puree (preferably in a jar)-*if you have overly ripe tomatoes that need to be used, cube them and add to the sauce*
  • 1 tbsp good italian tomato paste
  • 1 package spaghetti (or linguine) cooked al dente
  • 1/2-1 cup parmesan cheese (freshly grated is best)
  • 1/2 cup good red wine

*sometimes i add zucchinis or mushrooms if i have them available

heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy deep sauce pan, add the onions (cubed), and garlic, sautee for about a minute, then add finely chopped carrots and celery, sautee for another 4-5 minutes until softened and slightly golden. add the beef to the pot and start breaking it up with your wooden spoon or spatula. when the meat is broken up and changed color, add the paprika, oregano (if dry), sea salt and pepper (to taste), nutmeg, and tomato paste-then sautee for an additional 1-2 minutes…

add the stewed (and some fresh if you’d like) tomatoes, half of the chopped herbs (basil, parsley, oregano), as well as a 1/2 cup of wine and 1/2 cup of water (or 1 cup water if you leave the wine out) and 1/4 cup of good parmesan cheese, mix and let the sauce simmer for a good 30-45 minutes on med/low heat.

while your sauce is cooking, boil a pot of salted water to cook your pasta (al dente). the next step is very optional-you can take an immersion blender and slightly (just a few seconds) blend the sauce-i do this because i like the consistency better this way. don’t overdo it-let the sauce stay slightly chunky.

after about 30-45 minutes (there should be very little liquid left) add the remaining half of the chopped fresh herbs, a little more freshly cracked pepper (also taste for salt and adjust if needed), and a touch of extra virgin olive oil. mix well, simmer for another 5 minutes at most. your sauce is ready to serve.

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