Haphazard Beef Bolognese

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November 12, 2014 by NS

Last night I decided to make beef Bolognese, but I only had a vague idea of what beef Bolognese was, and I didn’t bother to research it carefully. So don’t consider this to be authentic in any way. But it was convenient and pretty easy!

Sauce:
2/3 lb (350g) ground beef
3 + 3 tbsp olive oil
1 cup red wine
1 can of tomatoes
3 fresh tomatoes
1/2 white onion
3 cloves garlic
1 carrot
2 stalks celery
1/4 cup chopped black olives
1/8 tsp ground clove
cumin
fresh Italian parsley
fresh basil
salt and pepper

First I cooked the beef in 3 tbsp olive oil. I added a bit of cumin (probably 1/4 tsp or so but you could definitely do more) and salt and pepper. One it was all brown, I set it aside and started cooking vegetables in the same pan. First I put in the onion, then garlic, then carrot, then celery and tomatoes and olives. If you don’t want the carrots to be crunchy then you need to cook them for a while; you might even want to throw those in right at the beginning along with the onions if you want the carrots soft.

After all the vegetables had cooked together for a bit, I poured in about a cup of red wine and added all the spices. Be careful with clove, it’s very strong and will overpower the sauce if you add too much. I added more cumin and salt and pepper here as well as the clove and the basil and parsley. Then I returned the meat to the sauce and stirred it up and let it simmer for a few more minutes. Done!

This took about half an hour, but if you don’t use carrots or celery, it doesn’t need to cook so long. Just put in vegetables that cook faster, like peppers and mushrooms.

The clove is definitely optional. It has a distinctive flavor that not everyone will like, but I think it went well in this dish. You could make this spicy by adding some ground hot pepper, or by adding a fresh hot pepper of some sort to the sauce. The cumin is also optional, but if you remove both the clove and the cumin you should probably find some other spice you like to put in, or else the sauce may taste too much like the wine (especially if you used a strongly flavored wine).

You can put this on any pasta, I guess. My wife thought it would be best with penne. We didn’t have penne so I made (small) shells and that was fine. I sauteed some asparagus on the side, which was fine, except I left it in the pan too long while I finished the sauce and the asparagus ended up overcooked and a bit soft. Be careful when multitasking!

No pictures again, sorry. It’s too bad because I saved little sprigs of basil to put on top of the pasta when I served it and it looked pretty nice!

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