Thursday, February 2, 2012

Spaghetti Bolognese

This is a lot like spaghetti and meatballs, but lighter.  The flavors are absolutely delicious.  I must admit, I looked at the lengthy ingredients list and was intimidated.  Or maybe it was a sense of dread I felt.  Not entirely sure, but either way, I was not really looking forward to making this dish.  But it was surprisingly easy.  I had to stand at the stove for 20-30 minutes in the beginning, and then just mix every once and awhile.  It makes the house smell amazing, like and Italian eatery.  I love the feelings that that evokes in me.  I like to pretend, because my mom is 100% Italian/Sicilian, that I am too.  I mean, isn't every blond haired, blue eyed girl, pasty white girl, an obvious Italian?  I think the Polish blond must run a little stronger through my veins. Ask my brothers.

Back to food.  So, make this.  Let me tell you why.  First, your kids will devour it, and because there are veggies hiding in that red sauce, you get some wonderful veggies in them.  You get as an added benefit to shove them in your face as well.  Second, it is really easy, even though it looks all complex and crazy.  Third, because I really enjoy bossing people around.  Ask my brothers. 


adapted from:


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 slices bacon or pancetta, diced (I used turkey bacon)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3/4 cup diced carrots
  • 2 stalks diced celery
  • 4-6 large cloves garlic minced garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • dash cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 links chicken or turkey sausage, squeezed from casings
  • 1/2 small can tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes and their juice
  • 1- 14 1/2-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock or broth
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1 1/2 TBSP butter
  • 5 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan


In a large pot or skillet, drizzle the olive oil and heat to med-high. Toss in the bacon and cook, stirring, for about 4 to 5 minutes, until browned. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook another 4-5 min., stirring, until they begin to soften. Stir in the garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, and nutmeg and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the ground meats, and cook, breaking up meat, until no longer pink, another 5 minutes or so. Spoon in the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine, take a sip, and stir and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan to get browned bits up, until half of the liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes and their juices, the tomato sauce, broth, and sugar and bring to a nice simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the sauce is thickened and flavorful, about 1 1/2 hours. Add the cream, butter, and parsley, stir well, and simmer for 2 minutes. Fish out the bay leaves and taste and season accordingly. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to directions, until al dente (meaning still a little bite, no mushy pasta please!) Drain it.
Serve pasta topped with sauce and lots of Parmesan cheese for each person.  Make sure to have bread for dunking. 

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