Cooking during quarantine, as we all know, is a combination of “what’s in the fridge?” and “I want comfort food”, and I thought I’d share my quick and easy version of a bolognese sauce. This takes under an hour to make and results in an unctuous sauce – that might not be super authentic, but is super delicious.
Here’s the thing – this is by far NOT authentic. Heck, it’s not even close. But it results in a delicious bolognese sauce that will become a quick favorite just for that – because it doesn’t take three days or three hours to cook. In under an hour you’ll have a quick & easy bolognese sauce that will cling to your pasta like I cling to my coffee in the morning.
You start pretty classically with your ground beef and celery, carrots, onions, and garlic. This is how I get tons of vegetables in a sauce that’s going to be served with pasta, because even though I’m not hiding vegetables for kids to eat, myself and my husband need as much vegetables as we can get during this time.
It’s all cooked down, and then you add a “tomato product” and here’s when I can hear the Italians scream. I refer to tomato product being any one of the following: canned pureed or diced tomatoes, prepared pasta sauce, tomato juice…whatever you have in the pantry, because now is not the time to be going to the store for San Marzano tomatoes.
Three unusual ingredients follow that: tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and sugar. Yes, sugar. I know, if I had perfect tomatoes I would have no need for sugar, but because I don’t have perfectly sweet, warm from the summer sun, just picked from my garden tomatoes, I had a hint of sugar. You can add honey or maple syrup if that’s more your thing, but the sweetness is key in my option. It doesn’t make the sauce sweet – it just cuts the acid a bit.
Not authentic or traditional, this bolognese is still so delicious and I hope you all make it! Maybe next month I can get the recipe for the bolognese my husband makes at the restaurant that uses three kids of meats and takes three hours to simmer. In the meantime, let’s eat!
DID YOU TRY THIS RECIPE? I want to see it! Follow Cooking with Books on Instagram, take a photo, and tag me in it. I love to know what you are making and how you made this bolognese recipe your own!
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- ½ medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ cup tomato product
- 1 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoon granulated sugar
- optional: Italian seasoning or pizza seasoning
- salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
- pasta, your choice, cooked al dente and drained
- In a large saucepan over medium high heat cook the ground beef until no longer pink, about 10-15 minutes. Don't stir it around too much, so some of it gets slightly crispy and golden brown. This is flavor.
- Remove the meat and using the same fat from the meat in the pan, lower the heat and cook your carrots, celery, onion, and garlic, scraping off the flavor bits from thee bottom of the pan. Cook for ten more minutes and then add your tomato sauce or pureed tomatoes, tomato pasta, worcestershire sauce, sugars, and your seasoning.
- Reduce meat, add the meat back in, stir to combine and cover for 30 minutes to cook.
- Serve with pasta immediately, or double this batch and freeze some for later.