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Author Notes: The world is no stranger to Bolognese, and I don't propose to re-invent the wheel on the subject. My gift to you, is this big meaty, punchy, garlic-y, deep bodied, time consuming bolognese that pushes the envelope of your cast iron cookware to the limit of overflowing. What's the point of living life by half measures? Join me, and embrace pasta sauce at full throttle.
- 4 stalks celery, minced
- 3 medium carrots, minced
- 2 medium onions, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 kg ground meat
- 3 796ml (28oz) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 500 milliliters wine, divided (choose something punchy, drink the rest while cooking)
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 sprigs fresh time (or a couple tsp dry)
- 2 sprigs rosemary (or a couple tsp dry, crushed)
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons sriracha
- Add a little olive oil to you big cast iron stock pot, at least 6.6qt, you can use a regular stock pot, but you just wont feel the same about the primeval concoction you're about to spawn. Brown the ground meat of your choosing, drain, remove from the pot and set aside. (for best results, use lean ground beef, but pork or veal also work well)
- Add the remainder of the olive oil to the cast iron, and the minced onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. This is your soffritto, the base for any good pasta sauce, zested up with a little garlic. sweat over medium heat until soft and fragrant.
- add the can of tomato paste, and mix well, let cook for another 2 minutes.
- return the meat to the pot with the soffritto, and add 2 cans of tomatoes, un-drained, and 250ml of wine. Bring to a simmer, uncovered.
- Let simmer until reduced enough to fit more stuff in your pot (1hr or so), then add the 3rd can of tomatoes (drained), the spices, brown sugar, sriracha, remaining garlic, and remaining wine. If you don't have enough room to add all that stuff, let it reduce further, it's only going to make it better. Return to a simmer, partly covered, still allowing steam to escape.
- Simmer that sucker, stirring occasionally for at least 2 hours more. the longer you cook it, the better it gets, so don't be afraid to just ignore this thing like a squalling child during the sports game, and let it do its thing.
- Now that the sauce has reduced to a delicious meat-slurry, you can either get to cooking your preferred pasta by your preferred means, or let this guy cool and then fire it in the fridge. Letting it sit over night in the fridge will really let the flavours melt together, and as a plus, when you're all stressed out with your big party the next day you've got one less thing to deal with, just heat this guy up and serve it. You can remove the bay leaves if you can find them, or you can always just tell your guests they are prizes.