Traditional bolognese sauce is a labor of love. Made low and slow with layers of ground beef and pork, carrots and celery and a splash of milk for creaminess.
A few months ago we had the pleasure of touring a local ranch near us in Washington in a small town called Ferndale. Long story short, Joe thought he was stopping by a farm that raised local turkeys (it was around Thanksgiving) but instead another family owned the property and raises chicken, pigs and cow.
Cougar Creek Ranch doesn’t have a website or a Facebook page yet, so I can’t tag them, but I can tell you that this family run business loves their animals. We met the baby pigs and toured the spacious grounds..it was lovely!
I could go on and on, but I did interview them on my channel with KPNW Radio. You can listen to Episode #4 HERE!
What makes a traditional bolognese
We were lucky enough to be gifted local and pastured raised ground pork and beef from our new friends at Cougar Creek Ranch. I couldn’t wait to make a traditional bolognese with the meat.
A traditional bolognese is so much more then a simple meat sauce and has a few stand out key elements: Ground meat, either pork, beef or a combination. A mirepoix including carrots, celery and onion and a splash of creamy milk to make the most luxurious bolognese sauce.
Bolognese sauce ingredients are staples you probably have
I am a firm believer in using ingredients that you have. The beautiful thing about a traditional bolognese is that the sauce is made up of common staples. Carrots, celery and onions are used on the regular in our kitchen, but if you ran out of celery, don’t go out of your way to buy it. The thick ragu like sauce will still have layers of flavor.
In addition, I love using a combination of meats. The pork has a good amount of fat for flavor and the beef offers wonderful flavor and substance. I would even suggesting using ground turkey or ground chicken with a fattier cut such as pork or in my previous recipe, bolognese with wild boar.
Traditional Bolognese Sauce with Ground Beef and Pork
- 2 carrots peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 small white onion roughly chopped
- 2 stalks of celery roughly chopped
- Olive oil for drizzling
- 3 garlic cloves chopped finely
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or more for added heat
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2- 32 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 small Parmesan rind
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound linguini
- Freshly grated Parmesan for garnish
- Start by making the mirepoix by adding chopped carrots, onion and celery to a food processor and pulse until very finely chopped.
- Heat a large dutch oven or pot over medium-high heat and drizzle with olive oil. Add the chopped vegetables and cook for 3-5 minutes until the vegetables release some water and soften.
- Add in the chopped garlic and continue cooking for 1 more minute until the garlic softens and just turns a light golden brown.
- Add in the ground meets and use a spatula to break up the meat and cook for about 5-7 minutes until mostly cooked through, It's OK if there are some under-cooked parts. Stir in dried oregano and red pepper.
- Make a well in the center of the pot, moving the meat to the sides and pour in the milk. Cook until milk reduces, about 3-5 minutes making sure it doesn't burn. You may need stir in some of the meat so milk doesn't burn.
- Next, pour in wine and allow to reduce for 2-3 minutes and add in tomato paste. Stir everything to combine and add crushed tomatoes, Parmesan rind and a good sprinkle of salt and pepper.
- Give one final stir and bring sauce to a gentle boil. Once it starts boiling, reducing to a simmer and place a lid on, leaving a small opening.