I make this a lot and you should too. It’s just hearty, rich, and delicious with pretty much any pasta you want with it. Something like tagliatelli or papardellli is perfect due to being able to hold onto the sauce.
No, this will not be one of those recipe posts where I tell you all about how my kids spent the afternoon making some stupid arts and craft thing and our family had a moment and came together over this sauce. Why? First, I don’t have kids, and even if I did, I hate those ridiculous long recipe posts made simply for SEO (Search Engine Optimization). I’m makin’ real food here for real people, not Google! But, I do hope people find this too 🙂
Okay, ingredients list time!
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (whole peeled is fine too, just break them up really good)
1 lb ground beef, though you can use pork if you like, it just won’t be BEEF bolognese.
1 carrot, small diced. Yes, seriously, just do it.
4 cloves, no… 5, 5 cloves of garlic! Diced small as the carrots
1 small onion, you guessed it, diced small
1 green, red or yellow bell pepper. Red is the most flavorful, but… I couldn’t find any so ours is green. If I can deal with it, so can you.
1 rib of celery, diced about the same as the rest of the veggies. If you leave this out, the world as we know it will end. Just kidding… but use it anyway.
5-8 Basil leaves, torn, not cut. If you cut them, you ruin it completely and everyone will point and laugh at you. (If you don’t have fresh basil, dried is fine, just use about a tablespoon)
1 tablespoon dried Thyme. You can never have enough Thyme. Seriously, couldn’t we all use a little more thyme?
Get yourself more thyme…
2 tablespoons olive oil. I use the good stuff, Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The joke writes itself and I don’t want to be censored. Why do I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil? It TASTES good. That’s why.
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt, I don’t judge, unless you use iodized salt, then we can no longer be friends.
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper. If you absolutely have to use the sawdust in the cupboard from 1992… Second thought… no, just crack some darn peppercorns.
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flake. This is optional, and it doesn’t make it spicy, just adds a depth of flavors to the dish.
1 cup of Viking Blood Mead. I used our latest recipe that you can make for yourself here: https://youtu.be/cP4mYH9jNeY If you are completely out, and don’t have 8-12 weeks to wait for more, I suppose red wine could be a semi-acceptable substitute. It just won’t be the same.
On to the Cooking!
Heat up a large pot to medium, actually just below medium, kind of medium-ish, but not medium low. Once it’s hot, but not a second before (seriously, heat your pan before you add fat or oil to cook in, like… always do that), add in the olive oil. Wait a count of three. Not four, not two, unless you then proceed to three. Five is completely out. Once you get to 3, add the ground beef. Mash it around with a wooden spoon or tongs. Add half the salt and half the black pepper.
Once the meat is just about done, as in, not completely brown, sort of a medium, not rare, then add in all the rest of the veg. This will take 5-10 minutes or so. Yep, put in the garlic too, that’s why you cut it the same size as the rest… You did cut all the veg the same size, right? I said to back in the Ingredients list. Go check, I’ll wait. The beef won’t (wait, that is)… so… you should have cut it all the same size the first time!
Add the rest of the salt and black pepper, and the red pepper flake.
Cook the mixture for about 12 minutes. No, exactly 12 minutes. The idea is to finish cooking the meat, and soften the vegetables. If you see the vegetables taking color, use your knob and TURN THE HEAT DOWN, as it’s too high. I said just below medium!
Once the veg is soft and NOT BURNED, add in the can of tomatoes. If you used crushed, dump it right in. If you had to be fancy and show me up, and used whole, pour ’em in a bowl and break them up with your hands. Congratulations, you just added 5 minutes and another dirty dish to your preparation.
Add the TORN basil (or dried, no judgy here) and the thyme. If you must use fresh thyme, no stems, just leaves. Now you see why I use dried!
Add the Mead. All of it. Drink the rest of the bottle.
Cook this for an hour on the lowest your stovetop can go. If you see more than a couple bubbles, it’s too hot. I use a screened lid to keep the splashing off EVERYTHING within 5 feet of the stove. No idea how it can fly that far, but it does.
Oh, here’s that splatter screen!
There should be enough sauce to serve four normal people, or me, and Derica gets some too. Make sure to marry the sauce and the pasta, don’t pile noodles on a plate and dump sauce on them. I will find you and give you the look. Seriously.
How much pasta? Ehh, probably close to a pound is the right amount for this much sauce. Remember, sauce is just a condiment, the pasta is the show.
Oh, I bet you wanna know how to make pasta now, huh? That’s another post. 🙂
Thanks for reading, and have a great day!
PS. I’m very aware this isn’t authentic Italian. That’s why I added “vegetable” to the title and never said the word ITALIAN in the entire post.
Oh hey, want to make the bread in the Thumbnail image to go with this dish? Video is here, well below here, but you get the idea.