Author Note: Traditional Bolognese is comprised of three different types of meat. This bolognese is comprised of three different flavors of pork: bacon, spicy pork sausage and mild pork sausage. If you prefer less pork, substitute the pork sausage with chicken sausage. Also, this Bolognese easily freezes.
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 ½ pounds pork sausage (I use half spicy and half mild)
1 ½ cups Chianti
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 beef bouillon cube
3 springs of fresh thyme, tied (or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme)
1/2 cup water
grated Parmesan for topping
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
- Place the vegetables into a food processor and puree into a paste-like consistency.
- Once the vegetables are pureed and the pan is hot, add them to the pan. Season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally. Cook for 10-15 minutes (set a timer to keep track).
- Once the liquid is evaporated from vegetables and the mixture is browned, add the sausage and bacon. Cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- When the meat starts to brown and it sticks to the bottom of the pan, pour in the Chianti. Scrap any bits stuck on the bottom of the pan. (Take a deep breath and smell this delicious aroma, this smells like Italy) Reduce the wine for about 3-5 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed by the meat and vegetable mixture.
- Lower the heat to medium and add the crushed tomatoes, bouillon cube, thyme and water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and bring to a simmer.
- Simmer for at least 1 1/2 hours, up to three hours. If simmering for more than 1 1/2 hours be sure to add an additional bit of water to make sure the sauce does not dry up. Make sure to skim the fat off the sauce as it simmers.
- Serve warm with your favorite pasta or with gnocchi, wilted spinach and pine nuts (see below for recipe).
Sausage Bolognese with Gnocchi, Wilted Spinach and Pine Nuts
1 16 ounce package of gnocchi (or more, depending on how many you plan to serve)
1 package of fresh baby spinach
¼ cup pine nuts (or more)
- About 15 minutes before serving, place a large pot of water on high heat. When at a rolling boil, pour in a hearty amount of kosher salt (make it as salty as the Mediterranean), add the gnocchi and cook according to the directions on the package.
- Meanwhile, place a small saute pan on low heat and add the pine nuts. Toast until browned to your liking.
- Place a small handful of baby spinach leaves into each serving bowl. Place the cooked gnocchi on top of each serving of spinach, sprinkle with finely grated fresh Parmesan and then cover with the hot sausage bolognese and toasted pine nuts. Allow a couple of minutes for the heat from the gnocchi and bolognese to wilt the spinach. Enjoy!