Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pasta Bolognese

You may be saying to yourself, Pasta Bolognese? Looks just like meat sauce for spaghetti. But oh no, this stuff is way different. Well, not WAY different but it definitely is not spaghetti with meat sauce.

Unlike a regular spaghetti meat sauce which I find to be a sort of saute, dump and simmer, Pasta Bolognese takes the time to develop flavors by browning every single step from the veggies to the meat. The browning really is where all the flavor comes from and develops. By the end of the whole process, you end up with a deeply, rich sauce that's on a whole other level.

The interesting ingredient in this recipe is actually the cinnamon. After looking through tons of recipe for bolognese, a common ingredient is cinnamon or nutmeg. That may sound weird but it's definitely necessary. It adds a deep, warmth and "spiciness" that works well with the deep flavor from browning the meat. So, if you're in the mood for something other than a spaghetti meat sauce, try a Bolognese sauce. Definitely worth a Sunday dinner!

Pasta Bolognese
Recipe by Me!

2 tbsp olive oil
1 ½ celery stocks, roughly chopped
1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground beef
1 ½ cups red wine
1-28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 cup water
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat a pot with olive oil on medium heat. Meanwhile place the roughly chopped celery, carrot and onion in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Once the pot is hot, add your finely chopped celery, carrot and onion and cook for about 10 minutes until the liquid has evaporated and the vegetables have just begun to brown.

Add the minced garlic to the pot and cook for an additional 1 minute. Then add in the ground beef and proceed to break it up and cook for about 15 minutes. You really want the ground beef to brown in this stage. Once browned, remove any excess fat and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Deglaze the pan with the red wine and cook for about 8 minutes until the wine has reduced by half. Add the crushed tomatoes, oregano, bay leaf and water and stir to combine. Season again with salt and pepper. Cover the pot partially, reduce the heat to a medium-low, and cook for about 30 minutes until thick and rich. Once cooked, add in the ground cinnamon. Serve with pasta.

 -Aaron John


  1. when you take the time to cook your food slower and brown it,it always manage to get a wonderful taste from the hard work. browning is very important in flavor. glad you added this. i will save this one for later and cook it with love just as you had done.

  2. Definitely! So much flavor just from browning that you just can't replace it! I hope my recipe works well for you! :)

  3. The science behind "malliard browning" is actually very interesting.. I remember them drumming it into us in cooking school in Ireland.. I googled this
    "Maillard reaction is a non-enzymatic browning reaction, caused by the condensation of an amino group and a reducing compound, resulting complex changes in biological and food system."

    Otherwise known as it gives food complexity and depth and tastes delicious

  4. Mike: I've actually never heard of Malliard Browning. Very nice to know a scientific word to use to describe where developing all this flavor comes from! :)

  5. I see this everywhere, seriously! I need to finally try it then. or should I go to Italy first? ;)

  6. You should just go to Italy to try it!! It has to be authentic right? ;)

  7. Haha, well one would hope! Are you buying the plane ticket ;)

  8. I've made bolognese using the exact same ingredients several times but only once did it turn out truly great. In retrospect, I suspect the difference is that I browned the meat much more on the one that had the best flavor.


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! :)

-Aaron John


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