12-Hour Bolognese

12-Hour Bolognese

I’d like to use this space to highlight one of the many wonders of aromatic cooking – Mirepoix (a mixture of chopped celery, onion, and carrots). In my early years of cooking I never touched Mirepoix when making a stock, soup, stew, or even my beloved Bolognese. I’ve always despised celery and couldn’t bear to use it in any dish. It took one try of this sacred mixture in my Bolognese to never look back. It truly is the fundamental backbone of a good Bolognese – and can not, should not, will not be made without it!

One note: my recipe requires a slow cooker, but if you don’t have one – don’t fear! You can simply use a large pot on a low-heat simmer for the later instructions. But really, what are you waiting for? Go get one!

  • 1 lb. ground beef12-hour bolognese
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 5 small tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • Olive oil, salt, and ground black pepper on hand
  1. In a food processor, puree your Mirepoix (celery, onion, carrots) and minced garlic until it takes the form of an orange paste.
  2. Next, coat a large thick-rimmed pan with olive oil and add in your Mirepoix-garlic mixture. Generously season with salt, and cook on medium heat until the paste begins to brown and all of the water has evaporated. Be patient, this could take 10-15 minutes.
  3. Next, add in the ground beef and season again with plenty of salt. Break up the meat and carefully mix in with the Mirepoix, for about 10 minutes until the beef begins to brown.
  4. Now, slowly add in the red wine and the tomato paste. Stir to combine the ingredients, and lower the heat to a low simmer, until the liquid reduces by half. This will take around 10 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, turn on your slow cooker to LOW or AUTO and add your chopped tomatoes and can of crushed tomatoes.  If you’re cooking on the stove top, you can do this in a large pot with your burner on as low as it will go.
  6. Move the meat mixture to the slow cooker (or pot), adding in the dried oregano and nutmeg at this time. Top with 1.5 cups of water. As the water evaporates you may need to gradually add more, about one half-cup at a time. If you add all of the water at once the flavors won’t develop correctly, so do this gradually.
  7. Check on your sauce at the 4, 6, and 8 hour marks if possible. If you’ve left it on while you’re at work or out of the house, I recommend turning your slow cooker to AUTO. At around 10-12 hours, your sauce should be just perfect. If you’re in a rush, raise the heat to HIGH (if cooking on a pot this is low-medium), and check on it every 30 min. or so. Taste along the way to know exactly when it’s ready. The beauty of a slow cooker is – the longer it cooks, the better it tastes!
  8. Serve with your favorite type of pasta, top with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and enjoy!
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