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This bolognese is truly the best of the best. The slow oven roasting is the reason!
Hearty Pasta And Sauce
I have to be honest here. When it comes to pasta with a tomato-based sauce, it was never in my “top 10” things to eat. I don’t hate it by any means. It’s just that it was never a favorite of mine.
My thoughts on pasta with sauce quickly became history when I discovered this wonderful bolognese. The recipe comes from Mary Berry who is pretty much an icon in Britain.
For those that don’t know this, my family comes from there (I also have dual citizenship) and bolognese is a very popular dish in the UK. I know, go figure!!! Any time my family talked about this and would use the term “bolognese,” I just thought they were being toffee nosed (a Brit expression for acting high-class when you’re NOT) calling meat sauce such a fancy name. Anyway, since it is so popular, Mary Berry made what she considered radical additions to the old standard as well as changing the cooking method.
Yes, White Wine And Yes Cream
White wine is generally not used in more substantial dishes such as this. If you also adhere to old-school thoughts on wine, it’s generally a red that is used with beef. Not here.
And yes, there’s a bit of heavy cream in it too. I think that’s the thing I liked best about Ms Berry’s rendition of this sauce. I’ve read critiques about her sauce–I might add from people who have not tried it–basically saying, “Icky poo.” When they tried it, they changed their tunes quickly. These two things is just what this sauce needs!!!
As an aside, this is usually cooked slow on the stove top. However, this is slow roasted in the oven. I think that process, due to the evaporation, make this sauce so intensely flavored.
Do Use Fresh
In Britain, fresh bay is preferred over it’s dehydrated cousin that’s popular here in the US. My sister even has a bay tree growing in her yard.
Of course you can use dried, but you’ll have to use more if you do. I especially purchased fresh bay to make this. I didn’t think I’d notice a difference, but I did. The flavor is way better. So much so that now I buy fresh any time I need to use bay.
This recipe uses passata–which is uncooked strained tomatoes. Tomato puree is a good substitute, however, you can find the real deal in supermarkets in the US. Pomi brand does it and it’s simply called “strained tomatoes.” Make sure to get the plain kind for this though.
- 2 medium onions finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks finely chopped
- 1 large carrot finely diced
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 lb ground pork
- 3 garlic cloves crushed
- 3 tbs tomato paste
- 5 oz dry white wine
- 18 oz passata see NOTES
- 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
- 7 oz beef stock
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tbs brown sugar optional
- 2 tbs chopped fresh thyme -OR- 1 tsp dried fresh is better in this
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- Heat the oil in a deep covered ovenproof dutch oven. Add the onion, carrot and celery and fry over high heat for 5 minutes, or until starting to soften. Place the meats in the same pan and fry until browned and any excess liquid has evaporated. Add the garlic and fry for 30 seconds.
- Add the tomato paste and stir, then add the passata, tomatoes, stock, herbs, sugar and wine. Season with salt and pepper to taste then bring to a boil, cover and bake for 1 hour.
- Stir in the cream and return pot to oven, uncovered and cook for another hour, until tender and reduced.
- Serve over pasta—like fettucine, linguine or pappardelle.
*Adapted from Mary Berry
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