Nothing Says “Slow Down” Quite Like Hearty Bolognese

It’s been a while since I wrote. I’m sorry for that. I have lots of reasons as to why, but I won’t bore you with those right now. Instead, I’m going to share a favorite quote and reminder this holiday season. Oh, and I’m sharing my hearty Bolognese recipe, too, to demonstrate just how great slowing down can be.

Gandhi once said, “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” In a season that’s supposed to be marked with gratitude, giving, peace, hope and love, but instead is surrounded by messages of excess, hyper-consumerism and busy-ness, Gandhi’s quote is a good reminder for us all to slow down.

I’ll admit, I participate in the holiday frenzy, too. But trying to do everything faster or bigger only leaves me with icky feelings of inadequacy. It’s time to slow down, take in the moment, and make a big pot of meaty sauce that only gets better the longer it simmers. Patience, my friend. Patience.

IMG_0670Hearty Bolognese Over Egg Noodles

  • 1 pound ground beef or veal
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound pancetta or regular bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 3 large carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup Italian red wine, such as Sangiovese or Chianti
  • 3 cups chicken broth (1-2 cups more if you like a thinner sauce)
  • 1/2 can tomato paste
  • 1 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 cups cooked egg noodles or Pappardalle
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, brown the meat over medium-high heat with plenty of salt and pepper. Drain the rendered fat and discard. Put the browned meat in a bowl and set aside. In the same pan, cook the pancetta or bacon until just crisp. Drain the pancetta on paper towels, leaving the rendered fat in the pan. Add the chopped onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms and plenty of salt and pepper to the pan and cook until veggies are tender, about 10 minutes. Add a tablespoon of olive oil if the veggies absorb all the pancetta fat before they’re fully cooked.

Add the cooked ground meat and pancetta back to the pan and then pour the wine into the pan, allowing it to deglaze any browned bits off the bottom. Cook for three minutes and then pour in the broth. Add the tomato paste, and stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil and then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer. Leave all that meaty goodness to simmer for an hour or longer to let the flavors meld. At this point, feel free to add dried herbs, such as oregano, thyme or rosemary, to boost the flavor even more.

After simmering for an hour or so, add the milk to the sauce and let simmer for 15 minutes more. If the sauce is too thick, add more broth to reach the consistency you prefer. Season to taste. Divide cooked noodles into four bowls and top with a couple ladles full of bolognese. Finish with Parmesan and chopped parsley and more salt and pepper to taste. Then, sit back, relax and take your time filling your belly. Enjoy!


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