One of my favorite comfort foods is pasta in a hearty Bolognese sauce. I love eating it, but I do have a love/hate relationship with the process of making it. It takes forever. While I love that it makes my apartment smell like the rolling hills of Tuscany, and I love being in the kitchen chopping vegetables…I hate how long it takes. When I’m hungry, I want food now. So when I came across Morgan’s recipe for a one pot Bolognese on hosthetoast.com (which is one of the best recipes on the internet by the way), you can only imagine my complete and utter joy. As I always do, I’ve made a few tweaks to her recipe by adding a few of the things I do for a “traditional” Bolognese, but hers is actually quite lovely. So, let’s get cooking!
You Will Need:
Dutch oven (I usually use a 5 QT)
4-5 cloves of garlic depending on their size
1 medium onion- finely chopped (I’ve been known to grate the onion with a standing cheese grater to get a finer texture)
1 celery stalk- chopped
1 large carrot- diced
4-5 slices of bacon/pancetta (or more…whatever you like)
1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1/4 cup tomato paste (This is what’s going to give it that “cooked all day” flavor)
28 oz. crushed tomato
1 Tbsp. sugar (The sugar will cut through some of the acidity of the tomato and really round out the flavor)
3 cups low sodium chicken stock (or 2 cups stock and 1 cup red wine)
4 sprigs thyme
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 cup milk (I like to just circle the pot once with some half n’ half)
Basil leaves (I like to rip up the leaves rather than chop them. They are really quite delicate, and unless you’re using an extremely sharp knife, cutting is going to bruise the leaves)
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (You can always add more if you’d like)
1 lb. pasta (I like Bucatini, Mafaldine (Mafalda), Farfale (bowties)…something with some ridges or holes to really hold the sauce to the pasta)
1/2 cup shredded Romano cheese (1/2 cup should be plenty, but use however much you like)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Shredded Parmesan to garnish
To get started you will need to cook the bacon over medium heat. No need to add any fat to the pan because it will melt out of the meat as it cooks. Once it’s just started to get crispy, throw in the red pepper flakes, chopped onion, garlic, celery, and carrot. Season it all liberally with salt and pepper, and cook until the vegetables are soft and the onion is translucent. That should take about 5 minutes, and then you can add the ground beef, break it up with a wooden spoon, and let it get nice and browned. Once it’s browned all over, add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, stock (or stock and wine), thyme, oregano, and sugar.
Bring everything to a boil, and then reduce it to a simmer, lid it, and let it go for 5-10 minutes. Then, uncover, take out the springs of thyme, mix in your pasta, and lid it to simmer for another 15 minutes. Once the pasta is cooked and the sauce thickened up, stir in the milk (or half n’ half), Romano, and basil. Adjust the seasonings to fit your tastes, add some freshly shredded Parmesan right on top, and garnish with some more basil.
Bolognese, whether done as a one pot dish or the old fashioned way, is one of the best comfort foods ever. It’s meaty, hearty, and absolutely delicious. You could also use fresh or homemade pasta for this…you’d just let it simmer for 5 minutes or so instead of the 15 minutes needed for dry pasta. No matter how you make it, it’s a perfect meal to host a fancy dinner party or just chill at home with the family.
Thank you so much for reading! I appreciate you all so so much!