This is a deeply flavored, rich and savory sauce that goes perfectly with a wide flat noodle or nestled between the layers of a lasagna. When I make a bolognese, I always use cut whole muscle meat and never ground meat. My personal preference is for an even mix of pork shoulder and beef chuck roast, cut in 1-1.5” cubes, or equal parts beef, pork, and veal. It is slow cooked for a few to several hours, until the meat falls apart and the sauce is thick. Though always containing tomato, a near equal amount of “sofrito”, a blend of onion, carrot, and celery, is key for the deep rich flavor.
Skewing a bit away from more traditional recipes I include chicken stock to intensify and add depth to the flavor. Also, I prefer to save my milk/cream addition to the very end, adding a bit of heavy cream to the pan when finishing the sauce, just before the pasta goes in. While the bay leaves are optional, I enjoy the roundness and depth that contribute to the final flavor, a subtle background is added that in no way dominates any other flavors. I think that their common use in other slow cooked dishes helps remind the palate of the time and effort put into making the dish.
I highly suggest making this in large batches, because it freezes extremely well and can then provide an easy warm comforting meal when needed.
For a quick tomato and meat sauce I like to use sausage for its more intense flavor and to me, much better texture when quickly cooked. But that’s a recipe for another time.
Click below for Bolognese recipe: