Sunday, June 12, 2011

Doden's Bolognese Sauce

This is my husband's grandmother, Doden's, recipe. And even though Doden herself never made this for me, my mother in law, Mary, has a million times. I finally asked Mary for the recipe so I could make it myself. I have tweaked the original recipe ever so slightly adding an extra can of mushrooms and sugar. This recipe makes a TON of sauce. It's a real crowd pleaser (who doesn't like bolognese!?) and I often make it for friends who have just had a baby or for large family gatherings. I serve it with a good crusty bread and a side salad.

2 Tbl canola oil
1/2 a yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2- 1lb cans of crushed tomatoes
1 16oz can of tomato sauce
1 c. water
1 lb ground beef
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp salt
2 Tbl sugar
2 tsp Italian spice mix
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2- 3 oz cans of mushrooms
1 16 oz can whole black olives
2 bay leaves

Over medium heat, add oil to a large pot. Add onions and cook for 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Add both cans of crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce & water to pot.

Adding the raw beef:
Let sauce get quite hot- to the point where it would be too hot to sip off the spoon, but not boiling. It is important to get the tomato sauce hot like this because I add the raw beef to the hot tomato sauce to give the beef that smooth, velvety texture when it cooks. If the sauce is not hot, the beef will not cook as quickly and will therefore be “lumpy”. The thing that makes this sauce so delicious is that the meat seems to disappear in a way- it is smooth and very fine. So, crumble the raw ground beef into the hot tomato sauce- I add about 1/3 of the meat at a time. With a wooden spoon, stir stir stir after each meat addition until you see that the meat is very smooth and there are no lumps. I think I sit in front of the sauce for at least 5 minutes just stirring the lumps out of the raw meat.

Okay, after the meat is smooth, the rest is super easy! Add the parsley, spices, salt & sugar, olives, mushrooms and bay leaves. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 hours.

Serve sauce over your family’s favorite pasta (we like angel hair). We always eat this dish with a big dollop of cottage cheese on the side. My husband’s step dad, John, is Italian. He taught us about this yummy accompaniment- he calls it “poor man’s lasagna”. It’s super good!

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