An excellent chunky pasta sauce with beef, lots of vegetables and tons of flavor. In Italy it is traditionally used to dress tagliatelle and may also be used to prepare "lasagne alla bolognese". Customarily the preparation of this sauce takes many hours of slow simmering and stirring over the stove, but here the slow cooker really helps with the tedium by doing most of the work for you.
The time spent slowly simmering really makes this sauce special, so don't skip it! But fear not, it keeps in the fridge for up to 10 days, and freezes very well.
Heat the butter over medium-high heat in a large, heavy pot like a Dutch oven. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery and cook gently for 5-8 minutes, stirring often. Do not brown them. Sprinkle a little salt over the veggies as they cook.
When the vegetables are soft, stir in the tomato paste and allow everything to cook for 3-4 minutes, again, stirring often. When the tomato paste begins to turn the color of brick, add the ground meat and the broth. Bring to a simmer.
Allow this to cook down over medium-low heat. Take your time here and resist the urge to do this over higher heat. Stir from time to time. When the liquid has mostly evaporated, add the wine and repeat the process. When that has mostly evaporated transfer to the slow cooker. Add the milk, nutmeg, salt & black pepper, and tomatoes. Stir to combine.
Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Serve over your choice of pasta.
~~To get several meals out of this recipe, I frequently double up on the ingredients, buy some mozzarella & parmesan cheeses, and layer with lasagna noodles for an easy weeknight dinner.
~~A NOTE ON TRADITIONAL BOLOGNESE SAUCE~~
A Bolognese sauce is a crowning expression of the wealth of Italy’s breadbasket. This is a sauce with rules. It is built on a base of onion, carrot and celery. It doesn't have loads of herbs in it. I love lots of herbs in a meat sauce, but that’s not a Bolognese. The sauce contains dairy products. Tomato, while present, is not the star of the sauce. Meat is. And to make a real Bolognese, it must cook a long, long time.
Bolognese is all about the meat. The sauce is usually a celebration of the cow: beef, veal, milk and butter. Most American versions make this a tomato sauce with meat. That may taste nice, but it’s not a Bolognese.
Do you need to follow all these rules when you make your own Bolognese? I hope you do, because the result is unlike anything else you’ve ever tasted. Even if you use other meats, following these guidelines will make an unforgettable pasta sauce. But the Italian Food Police won't come breaking down your door if you add a little of this or a little of that to your liking. Improvisation is, after all, very Italian!
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|Serving Size: 1 Serving (421g)|
|Recipe Makes: 6 Servings|
|Calories from Fat: 100 (37%)|
|Amt Per Serving||% DV|
|Total Fat 11.1g||15 %|
|Saturated Fat 4.5g||23 %|
|Monounsaturated Fat 3.6g|
|Polyunsanturated Fat 1.9g|
|Cholesterol 71.5mg||22 %|
|Sodium 165.4mg||6 %|
|Potassium 1117mg||29 %|
|Total Carbohydrate 19.5g||6 %|
|Dietary Fiber 4.4g||18 %|
|Sugars, other 15.1g|
|Protein 17.6g||25 %|
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Calories per serving: 269
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