Make Ahead

Classic Bolognese

February 15, 2013
2 Ratings
Photo by Jonathan Meter
  • Makes 2 quarts of sauce, and pasta for 2
Author Notes

I love making Bolognese in the winter time. It’s in my top 3 favorite dinners. Sometimes I really can’t get enough of it. A bowl of homemade pasta with a saucy Bolognese and a glass of red wine is one of the most comforting meals I can imagine. I am pretty sure that would be my choice of last meal, if I had to choose.

The other night I was watching television and found Lady and the Tramp on ABC Family. It was my favorite Disney movie as a child and I watched the whole thing, with commercials, despite Jonathan’s scoffing and ultimate snoring through it. It was just as good as I remembered – if not better. I found myself salivating over the scene where the two doggies share the bowl of spaghetti and meatballs…and started to realize that this movie is where my innate love of pasta and red sauce originated.

I take so much comfort in food, and this fantastic kid’s movie was such a source of comfort to me as a child. It now makes sense that I regard this dish as food you make for a loved one. Homemade pasta makes it even better, but store bought spaghetti will do the trick too. Thanks to our friends at US Wellness Meats for the delicious ground beef! —JessicaFaith

What You'll Need
  • For the Pasta Sauce:
  • 4 tablespoons Butter
  • 3 Yellow onions, minced
  • 1 Head garlic, zested
  • 2 Fresh bay leaves
  • 1 pound Ground beef
  • 32 ounces Crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup Red wine
  • Pinch Salt and Pepper
  • For the Pasta Dough:
  • 4.5 cups 00 Flour
  • 8 Eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • few pinches Salt
  1. For the Pasta Sauce:
  2. Mince the onions and zest the garlic. In a heavy bottomed pot, slowly melt the butter. Add the onions and cook slowly. Season with salt and pepper, and let the onions cook evenly and softly without browning.
  3. When you smell the heavenly scent of just-cooked onions, add the zested garlic and take a big whiff while you stir. Add the bay leaves and mix those into the buttery, oniony garlic mix. Continue to slowly cook, 1-2 minutes longer.
  4. Add your beef and increase the heat on the pan. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon and stir occasionally to make sure nothing sticks. Season well with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the can of tomatoes and half cup of red wine. Bring the sauce up to a slight boil, then immediately reduce to a low simmer. Cook for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the flavors are just where you want. Add a squeeze of lemon juice or some fresh chopped thyme if you want.
  6. Roll out your pasta dough and cook briefly until just tender. Serve immediately with hot sauce!
  1. For the Pasta Dough:
  2. Combine wet ingredients in a bowl and whisk well.
  3. Once combined, slowly whisk in flour. When dough starts to form, turn out onto a clean work surface and knead in the rest of the flour.
  4. Knead dough for 15 to 20 minutes, until the dough bounces back when you press your thumb into it. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before rolling out pasta.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • mboerner
  • JessicaFaith

3 Reviews

mboerner February 15, 2013
This is certainly a red sauce, but "classic Bolognese" it is not. I don't believe it is a good idea to put the labels of particular dishes on other dishes.
JessicaFaith February 15, 2013
Hi mboerner. Thanks for your comment. I'm sorry that the title of my recipe deceived you into thinking it was something that it was not. I only meant that it was a basic meat sauce, and one of my favorites to make. Are you a chef in Philadelphia?
mboerner February 15, 2013
Thanks for your note of explanation. Perhaps you could call it something like that, say, Favorite Basic Italian Meat Sauce.