Slow Bolognese or Super Simple Tomato Sauce

17 Feb

i have two choices for you. both from marcella hazan (as most of my italian recipes are.) one is a low and slow bolgnese. the other is the most super simple tomato sauce. the bolgnese, marcella says can cook from 3 1/2 to 5 hours. i ate my first meal of it at 3 1/2 and tried it again at 5 and was amazed at the difference– creamy, tasty and worth the time, no doubt. but if you are going to spend 5 hours making the sauce, then i think we should at least double it– amounts i have put in [ ]. though meat sauce freezes well, i think, so you could always triple or quadruple original if you felt so inclined. also- i think if you are going to put this much effort in- go out and buy some fresh pasta (or make it.) I got a tagliatelle, which i love– but of course it will work with anything. Enjoyed some of the leftovers w. polenta and fresh mozzarella… and then– because that’s what i eat w. all my lunches- i mixed some up w. wheatberries.

2 tablespoons chopped yellow onion [1/4 cup]
3 tablespoons olive oil [6]

3 tablespoons butter [6]
2 tablespoons chopped celery [1/4 cup]
2 tablespoons chopped carrot [1/4 cup]
3/4 cup ground chopped lean beef, preferably chuck [1.5 pounds]
1 cup dry white wine [2 cups]
1/2 milk (i used whole) [1 cup]
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg [1/4 tsp]
2 cups canned Italian tomatoes, roughly chopped, with their juices [4 cups, or two 28oz cans plum tomatoes]

Marcella’s notes
– the meat must be sauteed just barely long enough to lose its raw color. it must not brown or it will lose its delicacy
-it must be cooked in milk before the tomatoes are added. this keeps the meat creamier and sweeter tasting.
-it must cook at the merest summer for a long, long time. the minimum is 3 1/2 hours, 5 is better

1. Use an earthenware or heavy cast-iron casserole, the deepest you have (to keep the ragu from reducing too quickly.) Put in chopped onion with all the oil and butter and saute briefly over med heat until just translucent. Add celery and carrot and cook gently for 2 minutes.
2. Adding ground beef, crumbling it in the pot with a fork. Add 1 tsp salt [2 tsp], stir and cook only until the meat has lost its raw red color. [I take this to mean, when it at has lost some of the raw red– if you wait until all raw is gone, that’s too far- and you are cooking this sucker for 5 hours so won’t be underdone.] Add the wine, turn the heat up to a med high and cook, stirring occasionally until all the wine has evaporated. [this can take a while, but i took it to mean not all the liquid- because there will still be some from fat– but liquid will be nearly gone and that alcohol scent will evaporate.]
3. turn heat back down to med, add milk and nutmeg and cook until evaporated [same note as above.] stir frequently.
4. when the milk has evaporated, add tomatoes and stir thoroughly. When the tomatoes have started to bubble, turn the heat down until the sauce cooks at the laziest simmer, just an occasional bubble. Cook uncovered for a minimum of 3 1/2 to 4 hours [5 is great], stirring occasionally. taste and correct for salt. (If you cannot watch the sauce for a long stretch, you can turn off the heat and resume cooking it later on. But do finish cooking it in one day.)

Super Simple Tomato Sauce
What’s so amazing about this sauce is that there is barely anything in it. just tomatoes, butter and an onion– which you take out after its cooked. Seriously, there is no reason to buy canned sauce again. For New Years Eve, we used in Pasta Bake.

2 pounds, fresh ripe plum tomatoes [or 2 cups canned tomato w. their juice- used a 28oz can]
1/4 pound butter [1 stick- or if this seems like a lot- i think 3/4 of a stick will work fine]
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
1/4 tsp granulated sugar

If using canned tomatoes, start at step 2.
1. wash the tomatoes in cold water. cut them in half lengthwise. Cook in a covered stockpot or saucepan until they have simmered for 10 minutes.
2. Puree through a food mill [or immersion blender] and put back in pot– [i didn’t do this– just used hands to crush the tomatoes.] add the butter, onion, 1 1/2 tsp salt, and sugar and cook at a slow but steady summer, uncovered for 45 minutes. Taste and correct for salt. discard the onion.


One Response to “Slow Bolognese or Super Simple Tomato Sauce”


  1. Caponata « Snacko Backo - April 30, 2012

    […] creamsicles). I wouldn’t say that Batali’s basic tomato sauce is my favorite (i prefer the hazan) but in attempts to use some of the leftovers I made this bacon/pancetta tomato sauce– and […]

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