The interesting thing about bolognese is that it's not just marinara sauce with some browned meat mixed in.
Not in the slightest.
Not even close.
It's all about the meat, less about the tomatoes.
It has carrots and celery which give it a great depth of flavor.
The celery, carrots and onion are cooked for a long time so that they caramelize and all their sweetness comes out.
The meat is browned in the vegetables, then the tomatoes, seasonings and garlic are added.
Milk is then added to the sauce. Weird, but it gives the sauce a great color and flavor and makes the meat even more tender.
It's simmered for a couple of hours to concentrate the flavors. It also gets wonderfully thick.
It's tossed with the pasta right before serving.
Or you can do it the American way and ladle the sauce over the pasta.
Either way, well worth the effort and wait!
2 T olive oil
2 sweet onions, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
4 carrots, peeled and diced
1 lb ground beef, preferably 80/20
1 lb Italian turkey sausage (hot or sweet)
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 T sugar
28 oz. crushed tomatoes
6 oz. tomato paste
14 oz. tomato sauce
1 cup beef stock
1 cup whole milk
1 lb spaghetti (or angel hair), cooked according to package directions
Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the onions, celery and carrots and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until they start to soften.
Add the beef and sausage and cook until browned, stirring often to break up the meat. Drain most of the fat from the pan but leave the meat mixture in the pan. Return to the stove and add the garlic, bay leaves, basil, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, sugar, salt and pepper and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato sauce, beef stock and milk. Simmer on low heat for about 2 hours, until the sauce is thick and flavorful. Taste the sauce and add salt if needed.
Serve with spaghetti.