This spaghetti bolognese is one of TJ’s very favorite meals. This recipe makes a fair bit, so you may want to freeze some of it, it freezes well. Another option is splitting the recipe in half. You will need to start cooking this recipe in the early afternoon as is takes some time to prepare it, it’s a great recipe to make on a weekend.
Prep time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 2-3 hours
1 large onion cut into 1 inch pieces
2 large carrots cut into 1 inch pieces
3 celery stalks cut into 1 inch pieces
4 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons oil
3 pounds extra lean ground beef ( I have mixed ground beef and ground pork, sometimes even italian sausage taken out of the casings- just make sure it adds up to about 3 pounds)
3 cups of hearty red wine (something you would drink)
3 small tins of tomato paste
2 -14 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes and their juice
1/2 teaspoon each, dried thyme, dried oregano, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg
2 bay leaves
4 tablespoons Agave syrup or any other kind of sweetener you prefer
1/4 cup heavy cream (optional)
1 pound of spaghetti
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1. In a food processor, puree onion, carrot, celery and garlic into a coarse paste. In a large pot over medium heat, coat pan with oil. Add the pureed veggies and season generously with salt. Bring the pot to a medium high heat and cook until all the water has evaporated and they become nice and brown, stirring frequently, about 15-20 minutes. Be patient, this is where the flavors develop.
2. Add the ground beef or other meat and season again with salt. Brown the beef, don’t rush this step. Cook another 15 minutes until beef is browned. Add the tomato paste and cook until brown about 4-5 minutes. Add the red wine. Cook until the wine has reduced by half, another 4-5 minutes.
3. Add the 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, oregano, thyme, nutmeg, cinnamon and bay leaves. Now make sure everything comes up to a simmer then reduce to low and continue simmering, mixing occasionally, for 2-3 hours. Halfway through cooking you may need to add 2-3 cups of water or beef broth if the sauce is becoming too thick. The simmering is what really gives this sauce it’s depth of flavor, so adding more liquid will increase it’s simmering time.
4. When the sauce is close to being finished check for flavor, add agave syrup or sugar and salt and pepper,to your taste. Now’s the time to add the optional cream if you want. Then bring a large stock pot of water up to a boil, add 1 pound of spaghetti and cook until al dente or has a bite, not over cooked and mushy.
5. Serve spaghetti bolognese with freshly grated parmesan.