Try This Parpadelle Bolognese To Cure Your Winter Blues

This probably isn’t a fun fact but here goes. I’m Italian, hence my blog name has the word “vita” in it, it means life FYI. But for some reason, my family, as Italian as we are with the last name Camerata and my grandfather speaking Italian, no one in the family has a bolognese recipe.  You see, my family has a meat sauce recipe. One we use for Sunday dinners, ravioli, or baked ziti. You name it, we use it on everything pasta related. But it’s TOTALLY different than a bolognese. I don’t know why that’s the case, it’s just the way Nonna made the sauce. If you wanted marinara, you took the Italian sausage and the bay leaf out and called it a day. Bolognese is more of a ragu if you will, very meat heavy with very little tomato sauce. It’s not saucy, it’s meaty. You feel me? But this recipe does not exist in the Camerata recipe archives.

While in Italy with some girlfriends, all we ordered were bolognese dishes. I was kind of confused. I rarely order it in a restaurant because no sauce is as good as Mom’s. So I usually go for things she never made like pesto, carbonara and such.  A meat sauce? No, that’s like having Thanksgiving stuffing at someone else’s house. It’s just never as good as Mom’s.  But while in Italy we kept ordering it and I kept wondering why we didn’t have a bolognese recipe. I called my Mom, she had nothing. Grandma had nothing.

So it was up to the youngest Camerata to figure it out. It was a task I was willing to take on. And my friends were willing to be my taste testers. How nice of them, right?

I asked friends, I read recipes and the only thing I could really come up with is the fact that its ground beef or veal and also has carrots in it. Plus, a lot less tomato.  I also heard you’re supposed to put anchovy paste in it. Gives it that umami flavor you just can’t get with anything else. I left it out here, but am 100% trying it next time with this. I think it’s the one thing this sauce was missing. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but it definitely needed one more thing and I could never put my finger on it.

The kicker to this recipe is letting it cook and simmer FOREVER. You kind of have to kill it. The meat and flavors need to all mix together into one happy family. This is also much better the second day too. Many bolognese recipes also add in a 1/4 cup or so of milk at the end or a dollop of ricotta to mix into your pasta. I don’t do a lot of dairy when possible, so I left this out.

How To Make My Official Camerata Bolognese Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced small
  • 1 stalk of celery, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pound of ground beef (you can also use veal, or a mix of both, or italian ground sausage)
  • 1 24 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 12 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup of good red wine
  • Optional – 1 tsp of anchovy paste, or 1 full anchovy (it should melt down on its own in the sauce)

METHOD

  1. First, chop up all your ingredients and prep so everything is ready to go.
  2. Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat and add olive oil.
  3. Once hot, saute onions, carrots, celery and garlic until translucent. Add salt and pepper.
  4. Remove from pan into a bowl and reserve.
  5. Add beef and begin to brown and break up until cooked, about 5-7 minutes. Also, salt and pepper this layer.
  6. Once cooked, add tomato paste and your sauteed veggie mixture, nutmeg and combine. Add your anchovy here if you’re using it!
  7. Add a few splashes of red wine.
  8. Then add your crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and bay leaf.
  9. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat as low as it can go and let it cook for 1-2 hours. The longer the better!

How To Serve

Boil your favorite pasta with lots of salt. I like a wider noodle for this but really any will do.

If your bolognese is looking too thick, or you’re heating it back up on the stove again, you can add a ladle of the starchy pasta water to bring it back to life. I served this up for my friends the day after I made the sauce, so while heating it back up, I added 1-2 ladles right before I drained the pasta. Pasta water is gold you guys.

I personally like to toss the pasta in the sauce then plate. It gets better noodle to sauce coverage. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Bolognese Sauce
Ingredients
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 carrots diced small
  • 1 stalk of celery chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 pound of ground beef you can also use veal, or a mix of both, or italian ground sausage
  • 1 24 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 12 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp  ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup of good red wine
  • Optional - 1 tsp of anchovy paste or 1 full anchovy (it should melt down on its own in the sauce)
Instructions
  1. First, chop up all your ingredients and prep so everything is ready to go.
  2. Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat and add olive oil.
  3. Once hot, saute onions, carrots, celery and garlic until translucent. Add salt and pepper.
  4. Remove from pan into a bowl and reserve.
  5. Add beef and begin to brown and break up until cooked, about 5-7 minutes. Also, salt and pepper this layer.
  6. Once cooked, add tomato paste and your sauteed veggie mixture, nutmeg and combine. Add your anchovy here if you're using it!
  7. Add a few splashes of red wine.
  8. Then add your crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and bay leaf.
  9. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat as low as it can go and let it cook for 1-2 hours. The longer the better!
Photos by Hannah Michelle

Leave a Comment

5 Comments

  1. Laura Leigh wrote:

    Yummy! Yes please! I have actually never made this but have always wanted to. So thank you for sharing (my husband thanks you too) I will give it a go next week!

    xo Laura Leigh
    Louella Reese

    Posted 12.6.18 Reply
    • Jessica wrote:

      Yay let me know how it turns out!

      Posted 12.6.18 Reply
  2. Alina wrote:

    Yes to this sauce!!! It looks delish! I love the sauces of my mom best too (she maked bolognese often) and never liked other bolognese recipes, but this one sounds great!
    Buon appetito 🙂

    Posted 12.6.18 Reply
  3. Emma wrote:

    YUM! This looks delicious- I’ve been wanting to host a “family dinner” with my friends and I think I could definitely convince them with this recipe!

    xo, Emma
    https://emreecollective.com

    Posted 12.6.18 Reply
    • Jessica wrote:

      My friends were all about it when I was recipe testing ha!

      Posted 12.7.18 Reply

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