February 21 2021
A thick delicious meat sauce is always a plus in my mind, especially when it is this Pasta Bolognese recipe. When winter has hit with its freezing temperatures, this dish is the perfect antidote to the nasty weather!
Serving a luscious sauce over pasta and topping it with soft cheese such as Fromage Blanc, tomatoes, and olive oil sounds just about right to warm my belly. How about yours?
To make it so hearty, I use massive amounts of browned meats (beef and Italian sausage) to make it completely laden with chunks. This is a versatile meat sauce...if you prefer more spiciness, add more hot Italian sausage than the recipe calls for. Or, if you prefer it milder, cut back on the hot sausage. If you prefer chicken sausage over pork sausage, that's okay too!
I stew the meat in a wonderful sauce using Pomi chopped tomatoes (if I can find them...I always try because they are so good!), tomato paste, onions, garlic, red wine and spices.
So, let's talk pasta...in order for this Bolognese sauce to really "stick" to the pasta, I love to use a medium size pasta with a shape and ridges that the sauce can hang onto. In this case, I used Maccheroni al torchio from Rustichella d'abruzzo. But, choose whichever you prefer...bucatini, orecchiette, spaghetti. It will all be wonderful!
To finish this dish, I love to top it with halved cherry tomatoes and dollops of either Fromage Blanc, ricotta cheese, or 5% Greek yogurt. Sprinkle some crushed red pepper flakes over it all for a little heat, some Parmesan cheese, a little parsley and a drizzle of olive oil and you've got a gorgeous, hearty dish for any meal. It gets better the next day, so be excited about leftovers! It also freezes beautifully.
Serve this Pasta Bolognese along side this Arugula Salad with Dates & Candied Walnuts for a complete dinner.
Makes: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 70 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
2 pounds ground beef
1 pound sweet Italian sausage links, cut into 3/4-inch rounds
1 pound hot Italian sausage links, cut into 3/4-inch rounds
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 large yellow onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 750-gram boxes of Pomi chopped tomatoes
1 750-gram box of Pomi crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp Kosher salt
2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 3-inch long piece of Parmesan cheese rind (this is the outside edge on a chunk of fresh Parmesan)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped basil
12 ounces pasta of your choice, cooked or zucchini noodles (see Chef's Note)
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup Fromage Blanc or 5% Greek Yogurt
Red crushed pepper, for sprinkling
Parmesan cheese, grated, for sprinkling
Parsley, chopped, for sprinkling
Olive oil, for drizzling
Place bulk sweet Italian sausage in freezer for 20 minutes.
Heat a large soup pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the ground beef until no pink remains. Drain the oil and put in a large bowl.
Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the soup pot, and over medium-high heat, add the sweet and hot Italian sausage rounds. Sauté until browned all over, stirring occasionally. Transfer to bowl with cooked ground beef.
Remove bulk Italian sausage from freezer and cut into 1-inch squares. Add them to the soup pot and cook until no longer pink. Drain and place in the bowl with the meats.
Wipe out the soup pot, add 4 tablespoons of olive oil, and heat over medium heat. Add chopped onions and garlic, and sauté until soft and translucent, approximately 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once cooked, add all the meats, the tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine, oregano, salt, pepper and Parmesan rind and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add brown sugar and basil and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes. Remove the Parmesan rind and adjust salt & pepper, as desired.
Serve over cooked pasta or zucchini noodles. Top with additional Parmesan cheese, dollops of Fromage Blanc, sprinklings of red crushed pepper flakes, parsley and a drizzle of olive oil.
If you prefer spicier sauce, adjust the ratio of hot to mild Italian sausage. You can also use chicken sausage in lieu of pork.
When choosing pasta, you can always use a long thin pasta such as spaghetti or bucatini, but I like a smaller pasta with ridges and nooks to hold the sauce. I used Maccheroni al Torchio from Rustichella d'abruzzo.
Sauce freezes beautifully for up to 3 months.