my sunday sauce: a bolognese sauce

I used to look for recipes to make that would take just a short time, maybe 20 to 30 minutes, from start to finish. Quick preparation, quick cook time, as few pots as possible – those were my criteria. Well, that plus a glossy magazine photo of the fabulous finished dish.

Of course, those recipe selection criteria existed in the Before I Learned To Cook era. Those were the days when the George Foreman grill reigned supreme, and every meal seemed to be comprised of grilled chicken. Grilled chicken on a salad. Grilled chicken over rice. Grilled chicken over beans and rice. Grilled chicken with steamed broccoli.

We don’t eat a lot of chicken now. I’m sure you understand why.

But this is a different era. My confidence in my ability to cook, though still lacking, is much better than it was. I’ve made dishes and meals that I’m proud of. Heck, I’ve put them on display here. In public! For you to judge!

And you all have been so very kind, by the way. I love you for that.

The point is, I’m no longer intimidated by a recipe that calls for more than 30 minutes, from the first chop of the knife until cooked food is on the plate. In fact, I often crave a lengthy time in the kitchen, wearing my red apron and my flip flops, moving between sink and stove and oven to prepare something amazing (hopefully) for my family to eat. And maybe it’s selfish, but a three or four hour cook time means I’m stuck at home, with nothing to do except stir a pot, flip through a magazine, read a book with Madeline, or catch up on Twitter.

I love this at-home time, with no need to go anywhere – a Stay At Home Day, as my 5 year old son calls it.

This Bolognese sauce provided me with a fantastic Stay At Home Day on Sunday. For close to four hours, I stirred this pot of deliciousness. I began sampling little spoonfuls after the first hour, and with each hour of simmering, the flavors intensified and became more rich and robust. Though not a traditional choice, I served the sauce with bucatini, mostly because I like the slipperiness and smooth roundness of the pasta. Bucatini is a pasta made for slurping. It’s fun for kids, which means that it’s also fun for me. Plus, I love saying bucatini. Boo-ka-teeeeny.

I couldn’t go anywhere on Sunday afternoon, and then I was rewarded with bucatini with Bolognese sauce for dinner. It was pretty much heaven.

bolognese sauce | the merry goumet

 

 

Bolognese Sauce

Serve this meat sauce over the pasta of your choice - the classic is tagliatelle, but truthfully, nearly any pasta will work - and with a hefty grating of fresh Parmesan cheese on top.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 Vidalia or other sweet onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
3/4 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons Italian herb seasoning
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 cans (26- to 28-ounces each) tomato puree
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrot, and cook vegetables until soft, about 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute more, or until garlic is fragrant. Add beef, pork, and a big pinch of salt; cook, stirring with a wooden spoon and breaking up any clumps, until meat is browned and none of it is pink. Add milk and Italian seasoning, and cook, stirring often until the milk has evaporated almost completely, about 10 to 15 minutes. Add white wine; cook, stirring often, until the wine has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree; when the mixture begins to bubble, turn the heat down to low. Simmer for at least 2 hours (and up to 4 if you have the time). Salt and pepper to taste.

    Pin It

12 Responses to “finding balance and a blueberry buttermilk tart”

  1. Macaroni Mama — April 27, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

    It warms my heart that your children associate baking with love, warmth, and hugs. We won’t take up much of your time this weekend for this very reason. XXXOOO

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — April 28th, 2012 @ 7:37 am

      Any time we spend with you is time well spent, Mom. You and Dad are our priority, too!

  2. Liren — April 27, 2012 @ 10:19 pm

    That balance that we all aim to achieve is definitely more challenging at times than others. Thank goodness for baking, it really is a comforting therapy. I know a slice of this tart would bring peace and satisfaction. Hope this weekend brings more time with the kids in the kitchen.

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — April 28th, 2012 @ 7:38 am

      Thank you, Liren. Yes, baking is such a great thing, especially when I can do it with the kids.

  3. Thyme (Sarah) — April 28, 2012 @ 8:32 am

    Your words hit the spot with me. I am the complete opposite of your world but the same in so many ways. I am a stay at home mom with 2 teens (one off to college in the fall) and I have homeschooled for the past 6 years. That “guilt” word often has me analyzing my decisions off and on. Yesterday was one of those days. I clenched my hair yesterday and yelled “I can’t take 3 more years of school!!” and…”I’m not even getting paid!!” I felt horrible after that and spent the rest of the day in shame. Apologies went around. I follow your blog andy you are doing the best job! Good luck with everything!

    • Merry-Jennifer

      Merry-Jennifer replied: — April 28th, 2012 @ 10:00 am

      Guilt really can get the best of us, right? I think the work-life balance challenge holds true whether your work is outside the home or INSIDE the home, as yours is. And thank you for being a reader — I’m so glad you’re here!

  4. Beth (OMG! Yummy) — April 28, 2012 @ 10:32 am

    Nice post Merry-Jennifer – so honest and revealing in a conversation starting, endearing way. Guilt pervades my life and I’m Jewish, so it’s a long-standing joke in the family too. As for the balance, I commented on Twitter to Rebecca Subbiah yesterday that I take life one hour at a time these days – a whole day overwhelms me. Since I’ve become determined to reinvent a career for myself while still managing a complicated household, I’ve both improved the balance and thrown it way off. But I remain determined to forge ahead and hope that the decisions I make hourly are for the most part, good ones.

    Love that your kids want to bake with you – that is a priceless memory that will stay with them forever. The fact that you are mentally or physically gone occasionally will, on the other hand, melt away.

  5. Paula — April 29, 2012 @ 6:19 pm

    Your parents, friends, co-workers, patients, spouse and especially your children are so very blessed to have you in their lives and so cognizant of their needs. Guilt always invades our thoughts when time for everyone seems at a minimum. When your children go to sleep each night they know that they are loved so every second that you spend with them or do for them, while to you may never seem enough, really and truly is.

  6. Amy — May 2, 2012 @ 8:33 am

    It seems I will never fully master the art of balance. But I’m trying.

    I want this now. For breakfast. ; )

  7. Tickled Red — May 18, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

    Sometimes I come across a post after it has been written and I realize now that it’s for a reason. I need to read this today because the past month and a half has been topsy turvy for me. My balance had been whipped off the map. Love this post!! And yes baking does seem to do just that ;D

  8. Pingback: Nectarine Buttermilk Tart | the merry gourmet

  9. Pingback: The Merry Gourmet blueberry galette | the merry gourmet

Leave a Comment