Monday, May 7, 2012

Meat Lover's Bolognese

When Travis and I got married, one of the things I wanted to learn how to make was his favorite pasta sauce his mom would make for her three sons growing up. She made vats of it at a time, because lets face it, three boys would probably eat a whole pot of it with a spoon as a pre-dinner "snack." 

It's a very meaty sauce. Meaty, chunky, with just a few veggies in there. Very manly.

My household growing up was very different. My two younger sisters and I were picky eaters, and needed demanded that the marinara/bolognese sauce my dad would make be silky smooth. Over time we learned to enjoy the texture of the beef and he did not need to puree in vegetables into the sauce so we would get our nutrients. Our version was very girl-ish.

Then I got married, and my world turned upside down.

I tried making the sauce the way my mother in law, Angela, makes it. It was way too chunky for me. I can see why it was that way though- with three boys running amuck around the house I don't think I would have the time or sanity to chop everything the way most recipes call for either. The fact that she has raised three rambunctious boys and not had a stroke yet is impressive enough, so I give her major kudos for that in itself.

The picture above is close to how Travis like the sauce to be- even looking at this picture he tells me, "the meat chunks are too small...." The picture below is closer to how I like a sauce to be.

Compromise is everything in a marriage, right? I use an immersion blender to leave more chunks in the sauce for his taste, yet still puree some of it so it actually sticks to the noodles for mine. Today I blended things a little more than I usually do since I was bringing some to a friend. Either texture you choose- huge chunks or a little more smoothly blended, it's quite the tasty sauce. Definitely not vegetarian, and contains lots of fatty meat, so it's not often we eat this bolognese.

Meat Lover's Bolognese

slightly adapted from my Mother in Law's recipe

1 pound Italian style sausage
1 pound ground beef
1 oniondiced
1/4 cup white wine
15-20 pepperonischopped
green bell pepperchopped
2 tablespoons brown sugar
16 ounces any kind of tomato sauce- canned or jarred
1 can diced tomatoes
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon oregano
2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced (1 tablespoon dried basil)
1 teaspoon Rosemary
dash Worchestershire 
Salt And Pepper to taste

In a saute pan, cook the onion and bell pepper in a little bit of olive oil until tender. Add the wine, turn the heat to low and cook until liquid has evaporated. Let cool. In a large dutch oven or stock pot, brown the meats, and drain all of the fat that has rendered. Add the onion/pepper mix, turn the heat to low. Add the rest of the ingredients except fresh basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring often. Using an immersion blender, puree to desired consistency, or use a regular blender/food processor if you do not have an immersion blender. Simmer on low for about 30 minutes, adding basil right at the end so it does not burn and turn bitter. Skim away any foam that forms and any additional fat that rises to the surface. Add black pepper if you like, though you probably do not need any salt since the meats have plenty. If the sauce is a little too thick for your taste, add about 1/4 cup chicken broth or water until it's how you like it. Serve over pasta of your choice, topped with plenty of parmesan cheese. 

*This recipe makes quite a bit- it's easily halved. The leftovers do freeze quite well for up to 6 months.


  1. Very well done, my friend! This Bolognese looks tasty! It’s great that Angela is always there to help you out with the cooking. I’m sure the moment you placed this Bolognese on your dining table, your favorite boys immediately sat and chowed it down. =)

    Liz Peters

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Liz! I am very lucky to have such a great mother in law with Angela. And yes, every time I make this sauce it doesn't last long in our house, for sure!


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