Bolognese Sauce

April 27, 2011

The night before my half marathon, Will and I had a pasta party. I wanted some protein on the menu, but didn’t think I wanted to spend a warm and sunny Saturday making meatballs for eleven people. I decided on a Bolognese sauce from Tony Casillo’s Family Cookbook. Bolognese sauce is a meaty, slightly creamy pasta sauce made wih pancetta, pork, and beef.

Tony is actually a friend of my dad’s. His cookbook is filled with stories about his family and memories of his childhood in Italy. It is a very sweet cookbook. This is the first recipe of his that I’ve made. The sauce was rich (but not too rich), and was a great hit among our friends. I’d anticipated having to freeze the leftovers from my huge batch of sauce, but the pot was licked clean!

This is my third half marathon, and it’s definitely my favorite! There were few spectators, but everyone who cheered was so enthusiastic. Most of the spectators were the families who lived on the farms we ran past. The first few very hilly miles took us over a reservoir and past a few mountains. We spent a good 7 miles in farm country which was gorgeous, and ended the race on a bike path. The race was small but very sweet.

As usual, my favorite part of the race was the after party. The finish line was at the New Belgium Brewery. They had really good bands playing, unlimited New Belgium (including 1554!) on tap, and Texas Roadhouse.

I have never in my life been to Texas Roadhouse, but that pulled pork, salad, and rolls with cinnamon butter were SO GOOD. I could not stop talking to Will about it. “We can go if you want, I guess,” Will said. “There’s one like an hour away.” Now I fully recognize that under circumstances that did not involve 2 hours of running, I probably would not have attacked my meal with such gusto. But that day, it was PERFECT.

Each night this week after Will or I make dinner, we say, “Wow, that was great. But it was no Texas Roadhouse…”


I doubled this recipe and found it made the perfect amount of sauce for 11 people. I changed this recipe by cutting down on the butter and omitting the olive oil, since I didn’t want the runners to feel too weighted down by the end of the night. Instead of stirring the cream into the sauce at the very end, I let each person put a splash of cream on their sauce after plating since two of our diners were lactose-intolerant. This is also a good idea if you plan on having leftovers, since you shouldn’t freeze cream.

Serves 6


3 tablespoons butter

5 oz pancetta, minced

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 medium carrot, finely chopped

1 medium celery stalk, finely chopped

6 oz ground pork (about 3/4 cup)

6 oz ground beef (about 3/4 cup)

2 oz italian sausage meat, removed from casing if necessary

2/3 cup dry white wine

1.5 cups chicken stock

1/4 cup tomato puree

Salt & pepper

1/4 cup half and half


Melt butter in a large pot with a heavy bottom over medium head. Add pancetta, onions, carrot, and celery. Stir occasionally and cook until vegetables are soft and onions are translucent (about 5 minutes). Stir in pork, beef, and sausage meat, and cook until meat is browned and crumbles into pieces (about 15 minutes).

Reduce heat to low, add wine, 1/4 cup of stock, and tomato paste, and salt and pepper to taste. Cover with lid. Simmer on low heat about about 1.5 hours, stirring and adding 1/4 cup stock at a time about every 10 or 15 minutes. The finished sauce should be very thick and, as Tony says, gruel-like.

Plate your bolognese sauce on some pasta (I like rigatoni, Tony likes tagliatelle), and stir in a little cream to taste. Enjoy.


One Response to “Bolognese Sauce”

  1. […] More posts involving Reed: Pasta Puttanesca, How to Have a Sick Time in Vegas, Bolognese Sauce […]

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