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    One of my all time favorite sauces for pasta is a rich bolognese. Originated in Bologna, Italy the traditional version incorporates beef with pancetta and according to Accademia Italiana della Cucina there is an official recipe that should be followed. My version however kicks it up a bit by mingling beef, veal and pork which to me creates a distinct taste and texture.

    One of basic items used is a basic battuto or you may have heard it called sofrito which is a simple combination of onion, carrot and celery, not unlike the French Mirepoix it’s used to give a sweet underlying flavor.

    As with some of my other recipes this one is great to make a large batch as it freezes well and can be used in a lasagna or as a gravy for pasta such as tagliatelle or rigatoni.

    You will need:

    Beef Chuck — One pound, ground to medium in a food processor, you can purchase pre-ground but I find the texture too smooth.
    Pork Shoulder — One pound, ground to medium in a food processor, again you can purchase pre-ground.
    Veal Shoulder — One pound, ground to medium or pre-ground. Alternatively you can use ground turkey
    Onion — One large sweet or about one cup, such as Walla Walla or Vidalia
    Carrot — Two large or about one cup
    Celery — three stalks or about one cup
    Garlic — Two cloves
    Tomato Paste — four TBSP
    White Wine — use a good dry such as Chardonnay, two cups
    Whole Milk &#151 Two cups
    Dried Oregano &#151 One TBSP
    Olive Oil &#151 Two TBSP
    Sea Salt/Pepper — Two tsp each

    Rough chop the onion, carrot and celery, place in a food processor and grind to a fine dice, set aside. In a large bowl place the beef, pork and veal/turkey and mix until well combined. Dice the pancetta to about ⅛” dice, set aside.

    Heat a sauté pan large enough to hold all of the protein to medium high add the olive oil. Sauté the meat(s) until most of the pink is gone. Remove the meat from the pan and strain out all of the juice left, set aside. In the same pan add the pancetta and sauté until crisp then add the battuto and sauté until translucent.

    If there isn’t enough fat left from the pancetta add a little olive oil. Make an opening in the center of the pan and add the crushed garlic, sauté until the garlic is just softened. Stir well to combine, make an opening in the center of the pan and add the tomato paste, sauté until it loosens up a bit and then stir all to combine. Return the meat to the pan, add the oregano and mix well, sauté until warmed through. Spread the meat out into a level layer and add the white wine. Cook through until the wine is dissipated add the milk and cook until most of the milk is gone. If there isn’t enough liquid in the sauce you can adjust with some pasta water.

    Serve immediately reserving some to cool and freeze for another day. Enjoy!

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    Johnsonville Bolognese

    I’ve always liked making a good bolognese and decided to change my basic recipe around a tad. I had some Italian sausage that wasn’t quite enough to serve on it’s own but enough to use for a great bolognese. It’s an easy recipe but does take a little TLC and time.

    You will need:

    Italian Sausage – 1 LB. Bulk or you can use link sausages and remove from the casings.
    Fire Roasted Tomatoes – 3 – 14.5 oz cans – You can use any tomato but the fire roasted adds a little extra. If you have the time you can fire roast your own for a truly homemade meal.
    Oregano – approx. 1 TBSP – I used fresh if you use dried cut the amount in half.
    White Wine – 1 cup
    Whole Milk – 1 cup

    In a sauté pan large enough to hold all of the sausage in one layer heat one or two TBSP olive oil until it shimmers. Add sausage and break it up, I use a potato masher, it’s quick that way. Once the sausage has lost all or most of it’s pink color drain off all fat. Add the wine to the pan and cook until it is all absorbed. Add the milk to the pan and cook until it too is all absorbed. Add the tomatoes along with the oregano and salt and pepper to taste.

    Bolognese is a thick sauce to begin with so watch the tomatoes to make sure it doesn’t get too thick. You can adjust the consistency by adding some of the water you used to cook the pasta. I recommend using a large pasta such as rigatoni or such due to the thickness of the sauce any smaller noodle with just be a waste.

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