Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Homemade Bolognese!

Missy, here. And I have a fantastic recipe to share. Homey and rich and perfect for a cold day. (Of course, we won't talk about the fact it's going to be 70 degrees today!)

The way this meal started is that I got a deal at the grocery store. :) Ground pork for $1.69 a pound. I grabbed up several packages and then realized I'd never used ground pork before. I had to find a recipe!

The original recipe that I settled on is from the Martha Stewart website. (Click here to see the original.) You'll see as I go that I changed a few things, mainly because I didn't have exactly what I needed. So let's cook!

Pork Bolognese

Ingredients (from

  • 3 slices bacon, finely chopped 
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  • 2 pounds ground pork
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 1 can (28 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • Cooked penne rigate, for serving
  • Grated Parmesan, for serving

In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, cook bacon over medium heat until fat is released, 5 minutes. [I used pre-cooked bacon that I had on hand, so I just heated through and added a bit of olive oil]

Add onion, carrot, and celery [my family would go on strike if I used celery, so I left out]; cook until soft, 6 minutes. Raise heat to medium-high; add pork and cook, breaking up meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, 7 minutes.

Add tomato paste; cook until pork is coated, 4 minutes.

Add wine (I didn't have white so used red, which turned out delicious); cook until reduced by three-fourths. 

Add 1 cup milk (I didn't have whole milk so mixed skim with half & half); cook until reduced by half. Add tomato sauce, broth, bay leaf, thyme (I used dried), 2 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, 1 hour. Stir in 1/4 cup milk.

[I didn't have an hour. So I cut back to 1-1/2 cups chicken broth and cooked a half hour. It was a little thin but was very tasty anyway.]

Serve sauce over pasta (I used linguine), topped with cheese.

For fun, I have a set of pasta dishes that I bought at the grocery store years ago.

I hope you enjoy!!

Do y'all eat as much pasta as we do around here?



  1. Okay, ground pork is going on the grocery list! This sounds scrumptious - and it's the kind of dish I can sneak the onions and celery into (the boys don't mind as long as they can't FEEL it. Sheesh.)

    We do eat a lot of pasta at our house, too. It must be an age/carbs thing.

    Have you ever tried substituting cauliflower for pasta? It's not too bad (I only make one serving when I do - the guys get their pasta). My dear husband and I both enjoy spaghetti squash occasionally, but, of course, the boys want the real thing.

    As long as they're doing the dishes, I don't mind cooking both.

  2. Jan, I've never tried that. I've had spaghetti squash at Ruby Tuesday and loved it. But I just can't imagine putting any kind of sauce over it. To try to be healthier, I buy whole grain pasta (actually, it's a blend because the kids don't like whole wheat pasta). And I TRY to eat a smaller portion. The keyword being TRY. LOL

    Do you mash the cauliflower or just eat it as is with the sauce on it?

  3. I use frozen chopped cauliflower, and no seasonings, and cook it until it's just past firm.

    We use whole grain pasta, too. (Except macaroni - they really rebelled on that one for some reason). I eased the family into the whole grain, using part regular pasta and part whole wheat, then gradually (over several months) increasing the amount of whole wheat in the mix until we don't use the regular any more.

    I did the same with rice - only brown rice at our house now.

  4. Jan, using a gradual mix sounds like a great idea! I did that on myself with Coke to Diet Coke. ;)

    I'll just wean them off the white pastas!

  5. I'm so sorry I didn't get over here earlier. Missy, this sounds delicious. Like wonderful, delicious! I've never made a Bolognese sauce and I get stuck in a rut with the same old red sauce and Alfredo.

    This looks marvelous, and the bacon base??? Oh my stars, we love that in Manhattan Clam Chowder. It's just out of this world. Bacon, pork and tomatoes are a match made in heaven.

    Of course!

  6. Ruthy, I'm the same way. Always make regular old spaghetti (about once a week!) and also Alfredo (about once a month). But I always order bolognese at restaurants! So I decided to make it. :)

  7. Looks delicious--but I cook so little, anything with over 2 steps intimidates me.

  8. Jane, thanks for stopping by! I make this one easy using pre-cooked bacon and already shredded carrots. :)