It’s freezing out, which brings me to the subject of pasta with meat sauce; possibly one of the most hearty meals you can have. And on a day when the weatherman said “there is no chance of precipitation” while I am looking out my window to see what I would call a heavy snow shower, I knew I could count on something: Pasta Bolognese.
Bolognese sauce is not your typical red (from tomatoes) sauce. It actually has a fairly low ratio of tomato to other ingredients. I’m convinced that what gives it a truly delicious color is red wine. I can feel my cheeks getting rosy already.
You can serve Bolognese sauce with any pasta shape you wish. Some pastas hold sauces better than others, but I say do what you like or use what you have. Who wants to go to the grocery to get a specific pasta shape in 5 degree weather? I prefer to use ground chicken (a mix of ground chicken breast and ground chicken thigh) as opposed to beef, but beef makes an excellent sauce.
- 1 pound pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 slices pork or turkey bacon, chopped
- 1 lb. ground beef, ground chicken or ground turkey
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated (you can also finely chop this)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 small cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- Ground black pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup dry red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano for serving
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt and pasta. Cook until just tender, or al dente.
While the pasta water comes to a boil, heat olive oil in a medium sauce pot over medium heat, add bacon and let cook for about 3 minutes. Add meat and break up as it browns (ground chicken or turkey will not get as brown as beef). After about 5 minutes or when meat is no longer pink, add carrot, onion, garlic, allspice, salt and pepper, and the remaining seasonings. Cook 3 to 4 minutes more until onions are soft. Stir in tomato paste, mixing thoroughly. The sauce will start to come together and turn to a nice red color. Then stir in the wine. It will steam for about 1 minute. Add stock, mix, cover and reduce heat to simmer. The sauce will reduce a bit and become thick. I tend to add chicken stock tablespoons at a time until I reach my preferred consistency.
Serve sauce over pasta and top with parmesan cheese. After the first bite, you’ll most likely start speaking Italian.