I know that when you think of meat sauce for pasta, you’re picturing a roaring fireplace, snow falling gently and warm woolen sweaters – screech – think again! Picture a hot sweaty day in the garden, hours of fresh air, sunshine and hard work and a HUGE appetite. Nothing makes us happier than sliding up to a heaping plateful of pasta bolognese, in the summer, after a long day’s work. It’s the perfect meal for me to prepare if I have limited time in the kitchen. The long simmering times lets me get things done in the garden without having to constantly run back and forth. At the end of the day, its fantastic to be smacked in the face with the smell of this sauce when you walk into the kitchen.
Most of us have eaten a chunky, watery, vapid excuse for a bolognese at some time or other. There are secrets to making a great bolognese sauce, starting with your choice of meat. You need a good meat to fat ratio for the best flavour. I use boneless blade roast and grind it myself. Beyond the wierd level of satisfaction I derive from grinding my own meat, fresh ground meat crumbles as it cooks creating the perfect base for your sauce. If you can’t grind your own meat, have your butcher do it for you. Ask him or her not to squish the ground meat together while its being wrapped. You want it to be as loose as possible.
The cook time is equally important. You can’t rush. Each addition of liquid needs whatever time it takes to absorb into the meat and vegetables. Increasing the heat, to hurry things along will simply risk scorching the sauce while the liquid steams off. A slow, steady popping on the lowest heat possible will produce a velvety rich bolgnese. Finally, fresh verses dried herbs. I only use dried herbs if I have to. Summer is the best time of year to find fresh herbs. Grocery stores, farmer’s markets, your garden or window sill; snip, chop and savour the magic…
Summer Bolognese Sauce
- 2 lbs boneless blade roast, freshly ground
- 2 medium carrots, minced
- 6 spring onions, minced
- 3 fat cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 dried red hot chili
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 large fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
- 8 large fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
- 1 – 28 ounce can imported diced Italian plum tomatoes
- 1- 24 ounce bottle imported passata
- 1 cups dry red wine
- 1 cup whipping cream
- In a large deep pot, heat butter and olive oil over a medium high heat until frothy.
- Add carrots, onion and garlic and saute for 10 minutes stirring constantly. DO NOT BROWN.
- Reduce the heat to low, add ground beef and cook until all of the pinkness is gone. Make sure the meat is completely broken apart. You don’t want any clumps of ground meat.
- Add red wine, scrape everything off the bottom of the pot and cook slowly until the wine has completely evaporated.
- Add cream and repeat process.
- When the cream has absorbed completely, add salt, pepper, chili and both types of tomatoes.
- Simmer for two hours then add fresh basil, sage and rosemary. Stir occaisionally.
- Simmer for another hour.
THE LOVE: When I say the liquid should be completely absorbed, that means when you pull the sauce away from the bottom of the pot there will be minimal liquid. You don’t want it bone dry or you’ll scorch the sauce.
Thanks for reading.