Did you know that I spent my high school years in Germany? I did. Did you know that there are tons of wonderful, traditional restaurants in Germany that serve international cuisine like chinese, indian and italian? All owned and operated by natives to that cuisine, respectively. There was a place near where we lived called Roma and it had the very best pasta I’ve ever eaten. One of the things they were famous for was their bolognese pizza. Outstanding. Think spaghetti tossed in a delightful meat sauce piled high on a garlic bread crust and topped with cheese. Oh my thighs it was good! But I digress.
My boys really wanted spaghetti for dinner Monday night but I was completely out of jarred sauce. I’ve been wanting to make my own sauce for quite sometime so this was just the motivation I needed. Voila. Here it is. It’s not a traditional bolognese but it was so good that it will be my spaghetti sauce from now on. I browned everything then let it sit in the slow cooker all day but you could definitely simmer on the stove for a few hours to get the same balanced flavor.
I left out the wine this time (because I did not have any), but will probably buy a bottle in the near future to put in cubes in the freezer for every time I need to make this sauce. Which, hopefully, will be often.
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 slices center cut bacon, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and minced
2 celery stalks, minced
1 onion, finely chopped
1 lb lean ground beef (or pork for a more traditional sauce)
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup red wine (optional)
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup organic chicken stock
1/2 cup half/half or whole milk
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
Heat olive oil in a large pot on the stove to medium heat, add bacon and cook until almost brown. Do not drain the oil or fat, you’ll need it to cook your vegetables in. Add carrots, onion and celery and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes. If your vegetables are sticking to the bottom of the pan, turn your heat down a little. Next, add ground meat and turn the heat back up to medium high, cooking until meat is browned, another 7 minutes. Add all dry seasonings (garlic, bay leaves, thyme, salt, pepper and oregano) stir to combine and then add wine. Cook about 5 minutes or until it has reduced and alcohol has cooked out.
At this point you can transfer to a slow cooker and add the tomatoes, tomato sauce and stock or add to your pot on the stove and reduce to simmer. Cook on low in the slow cooker 6 hours or on the stove for 2 hours. Right before serving, remove from heat (or turn slow cooker off), remove and discard the bay leaves and stir in half and half (or milk) and parsley. Serve over whole grain pasta of your choice and enjoy!
Serving Size: 1/2 cup, 4 points plus
recipe adapted from here