bohemian bolognese

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This recipe has been developed over nearly 30 years.  It won the ‘Gallo Family Vineyards’ family recipe contest.  Once you try it, you’ll know why.  I’ve had many many many make this recipe, and they have never been disappointed.

I know, it sounds pretty ‘impressive’ to add the word ‘famous’ to something.  I mean famous is reserved for names, things, and places like Abe Lincoln, the Grand Canyon, the Titanic, Martin Luther King, Jr., JFK, Clark Gable, Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga, Picasso’s artwork, Simon Cowell, Michael Jackson, Michael Jordan, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, Gordon Ramsay…but a recipe…famous…come on, Ally, get real! Bohemian Bolognese.

Well, I’m here to tell you that my bolognese sauce is, indeed, famous…in my house, amongst my friends and family and at my dinner table.  It’s in demand.  It’s oftentimes duplicated but never really replicated entirely.  It’s been 30 years in the making.  And, I’ve had critics beyond the likes of those I faced on MasterChef Season 2.  Who?  My three sons!!  Pleasing their palates was tough when they were growing up, but making them beg for more is an even more daunting task.  AND, the real coup de gras of the fame of this bolognese is when your grown sons ask  if you can show their wives or special girlfriends how to make the sauce!

Finally, I entered this sauce in Gallo Family Vineyards Recipe contest, and it was the winner!  Our family was featured in the ‘centerfold’ of the NOV 2011 issue of Taste of Home magazine, and the Gallo family says, “It’s tasty traditions like yours that keep us gathering around the table for family toasts to come.”

A reminder…this recipe makes a lot!  Freeze in different size containers for using later.  Get creative and use in various ways!  Lasagna, pizza, open-faced sandwiches on crusty Italian bread…whatever!

And, puuuhhhhleeeze, don’t let this recipe scare you!  It’s really not that daunting, and all the work that goes into it, is well worth it!  It’s like at the age of 54, I hiked the Grand Canyon from rim to rim with my husband and another couple complete with heavy backpacks and all our gear and vittles.  I was scared #%(#%(less to cross the bridge over the raging and frightening Colorado River from the North Rim to the South Rim!  With a deep breath and determination, I did (and I don’t like heights!)…and, it was worth it!  Same with this recipe…some things are just worth the extra effort.  Lastly,  don’t be afraid to add your own special touches to the bolognese like olives (green or black), grilled shrimp, some extra cherry tomatoes…things that just rock your plates!

I’ve had many people make this recipe, and all have come back with rave reviews (and, no I don’t think they’re blowing hot air!); however, one of the most special gals who made it is Machelle from Machelle’s Cooking Corner~~I’m very humbled and grateful for her sharing of this experience.
bohemian bolognese

bohemian bolognese

Yield: A BIG pot 10+ people

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 Tbl. butter, unsalted
  • 2 carrots, finely, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced (if you prefer shallots, that’s fine, too)
  • 2 ribs of celery, finely diced
  • (NOTE: You can pulse the carrots, onion and celery in a food processor.)
  • 6-8 garlic cloves minced or thinly sliced (your preference)
  • ¾ lb. beef, ground
  • ½ lb. veal, ground
  • ½ lb. pork, ground
  • ½ lb. Italian sausage, ground (remove casings if in sausage form)
  • 1 cup pepperoni, diced
  • 1 (12 oz.) can tomato paste
  • 1 (28 oz.) can Italian crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream or half and half
  • 1 cup red wine
  • ¾ cup fresh herbs, chopped, combination of basil, oregano, Italian flat parsley, thyme
  • ¾ tsp crushed red peppers
  • Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ¾ cup of shredded parmigiano-reggiano
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, Parmesan or Asiago for grating/serving
  • 2 cups pasta water, reserved from cooking pasta and for thinning the sauce as it cooks and thickens

Instructions

  • In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat.
  • Add the onions, celery, and garlic and sauté over medium heat until translucent and soft but not browned.
  • Add the beef, veal, pork, Italian sausage and stir into the vegetables. Turn up heat to high and continue stirring and breaking meat clumps apart. You want the meat to brown.
  • Turn down heat and add the tomato paste and blend into meat mixture.
  • Allow this mixture to ‘fry’ about 5 minutes continually stirring so it doesn’t stick. Add crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and pepperoni stirring for about 5 minutes.
  • Add milk and wine, blend then add crushed red peppers, fresh herbs, and shredded cheese and blend.
  • Add sea salt and pepper to taste.Simmer over medium-low heat for several hours (2-3) stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • The salted pasta water can be used if you need more liquid to thin or get all the juices out of the cans.

Notes

Choose your favorite type of pasta. Cook it al dente.

After draining mix all pasta in large pot/pan with about a cup or more of the sauce coating lightly all the pasta.

Serve in a large spacious (preferably white) bowl. Spoon over pasta a heaping amount of fresh Bolognese sauce.

Grate fresh cheese and garnish with whole basil sprig or some of the chopped herb mixture.

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Bohemian Bolognese Sauce

8 Comments

  1. Hi Ally! YUM!! About how many cups does this make? I think I might give this a try the next time I make lasagna (when the weather cools down)! It’s really not much more work than the sauce I make. Other than the added veggies (celery/carrots), red wine & parmesan and longer simmering time, the steps are pretty similar. Other than dessert, lasagna is definitely one of my favorite things to make. And no, it isn’t my recipe. It’s an ATK recipe I’ve been using for years that’s so dang good I’ve had a hard time changing anything, other than switching to sweet Italian sausage instead of ground chuck. And from what my family/friends tell me, I would have bodily harm come to me if I change anything 😉 But I think they would be pleased with this sauce! Okay, sorry for my rambling!

    • Oh, my adorable rambling Tonya Rose!! How much do I adore your passion for cooking!! This will make at least 2-3 quarts…I typically freeze some of it in smaller containers to have for other uses…everything from lasagna to a deep dish like pie pizza…growing up my boys (all now men) LOVED this!! You’ll enjoy the subtle flavors of the different meats…when I’m here in CO I even do some bison…the pepperoni gives it deeper flavoring and some added oils especially if you’re using other lean meats like ground chicken or turkey. I’ll do the meats, the holy trinity (ground finely)–carrots, celery, onions, eggs spices, fresh herbs, and ground crackers (sometimes saltines, somethings nutty salty varieties, etc) and make these ‘baseball’ size meatballs…omg, they are a meal w/some sauce!! When I’m home, here’s what we’ll do…you’ll come to M.I. and we’ll make it together!! xo 🙂 Ally

  2. Thanks for posting the recipe, Ally. I am definitely going to make this. I like it that it makes a lot as ll – I am a big fan of making large portions of sauces, soups and other things for quick but healthy meals when I am tight on time!

    • Oh, you’re so welcome, Angi…I, too, like to make a lot, divided it into smaller portions and freeze…this sauce is so versatile…lasagne, pasta, pizzas, pies…whatever…let me know how you like it! Actually, I just had Chef Anthony Sasso, chef at Michelin-star Casa Mono in NYC, come visit w/us in our home and cook…after dinner around midnight, guess what he wanted? My bolognese w/papparadelle pasta…and he ate 2 servings! It’s good stuff! Again, let me know how you like it and come back!! 🙂 Ally

  3. I saw the ad about you winning the contest in a magazine at the Doctor’s office. I have been wanting to make Bolognese (cooking is my new hobby), so now I’ll try your recipe – thanks!

    • How cool is that, PJ! The recipe is some ‘work’ (since I do it blindfolded it’s second nature to me and not ‘work’), but well worth it…have a big ol’ pot! And be ready to freeeze some…you could cut the recipe in half, but I’ve never done that…isn’t cooking a divine hobby! Welcome to my world, my new great foodie friend! xoxo Ally 🙂