We spent the weekend visiting with my in-laws which was nice, but it definitely left my house feeling like a tornado came through. Seriously, counters just stuffed full of... stuff. Yuck, I don't like stuff. I like minimal clutter and I purge things regularly. I don't like to keep piles of papers and I recycle magazines after I read them. All the toys.. it's just too much for me. Alas, stuff happens.
And so does bolognese. Too many of those pre-made marinara sauces at the store have high-fructose corn syrup and "spices" and STUFF in them. I don't like stuff.
I made my bolognese with sweet Italian sausages because we like them, but feel free to use another meat or combination. Or skip it. Like I've said, please do something that you love. Red wine and milk are kind of the keys to a bolognese.. without them, it's just sauce. I used a mild and sweet red wine for mine, but use what you prefer. After all, you'll have some leftover to drink. The secret (not anymore) ingredient for me in red sauces is some balsamic vinegar. It just feels right.
This is basically a put it in, let it cook, let it simmer recipe. Get your ingredients all set, then turn on the heat and you won't be running around at all. I listed 10 steps here, but I'm really just giving you the order in which you put it in the pan. It's easy, it's relatively fast and it makes a lot. Freeze half if you want to or bring it to a neighbor. Be friendly people.
Sweet Sausage and Extra Veggie Bolognese
4 sweet Italian sausages (remove casings)
1 large (28 oz) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 medium carrot, grated on the small holes of a box grater
1/2 a large red bell pepper, grated on the large holes of a box grater
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp. each dried oregano and dried basil
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup milk
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 C olive oil
1/2 cup red wine
1. Heat a large pot or dutch oven to medium. When hot, add olive oil.
2. Add carrots, red bell peppers and onions.* Let saute for about 5 minutes or until soft.
3. Add the sweet sausage and really break it up with a wooden spoon. Get it brown all over.
4. Add oregano, basil, red pepper flakes and nutmeg. Stir it all around.
5. Add tomato paste. Stir together and let saute for a couple minutes.
6. Now add your minced garlic.
7. Add balsamic vinegar, then the red wine. Scrape the bottom of your pan to get any brown bits up and into your sauce.
8. Dump in the tomatoes. Now we're talking!
9. Add milk and stir together.*
10. Cover and let simmer 45 minutes to an hour over medium heat. Serve over your favorite pasta. I used a pound of bucatini here.
*this is where I decided to add salt and pepper. I always season when I put in onions because it helps them soften up.