Forget marinara sauce. Forget everything you think you know about spaghetti. Today I am going to show you how to make the best spaghetti you’ve ever had, or your money back: Spaghetti Bolognese. This type of spaghetti is light on the tomatoes and heavy on flavors that are brought together from a variety of ingredients you don’t normally see in a spaghetti sauce. In addition to these ingredients, you will find that Bolognese sauce ditches the conventional herbs you usually see in a spaghetti sauce, like basil and oregano. Originating from Bologna, Italy, Spaghetti Bolognese is a meat-based sauce that is great for lifters who need more protein in their life, as well as non-lifters that simply enjoy amazing food. I have spent a lot of time on this recipe figuring out the ratios and cook times of everything (we have eaten it eight times in the last month) and I am content that this is its final form for maximum flavor and equal consistency. Let’s cook.
Here are the ingredients you need:
2tbsp canola oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 carrots, finely chopped or grated
5 celery stalks, finely chopped, preferably stalks w/ leaves on them
2.5lbs ground beef (88/12 or 90/10 is best)
10 oz tomato paste
2 cups red wine
32 oz petite diced tomatoes
1lb spaghetti noodles, dry or fresh
Grated Parmesan cheese
First things first, you need to cut your onion, carrots and celery stalks as small as possible. Smaller than normal dicing works best, to allow the vegetables to cook through and keep them from hindering your bites with crunchy chewing. Grating them on a cheese grater also works well, just do your best to not have large, square chunks. You can use a knife, or if you have a food processor with a slicer, that works as well. I ran mine through a food processor.
Next, heat a large (and I mean, LARGE) saute pan over high heat with the canola oil added. A large Dutch oven will also work, or any pan with high walls that can hold all the ingredients listed above by the end of cooking. Once the oil is hot (shimmering), reduce heat to medium and add your celery, carrots and celery, stirring about once a minute for 7 minutes until they’re softened up and the consistency is even throughout (no clumps of vegetables).
Next, add your ground beef and tomato paste to the pan. Use a wooden spoon if you have one, to break up any clumps of ground beef. You’ll want an even consistency throughout the sauce. It’s important to choose a ground beef mixture that is at least 85% meat and 15% fat, but 88/12 or 90/10 works best. Too much fat will keep the sauce from adhering to the noodles, and nobody wants that. Cook the meat until browned and tomato paste is evenly distributed through the whole pan.
Once the meat is browned, stir in your 2 cups of red wine and bring to a simmering boil over medium, stirring constantly. Any type of red wine will work, including Carlo Rossi or two buck chuck. I used a Malbec for this recipe, because it’s my favorite.
Once the wine has started a slight boil, add your 32oz of petite diced tomatoes and its juices to the pan. Turn the pan to a low heat (for example, I have mine set on 3), and simmer for at least 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. The longer you let it simmer, the more the flavors will be able to mingle and get to know each other, and you will have a more uniform consistency. Do not cover with a lid. Season with salt and pepper.
When there is about 20 minutes left on the clock, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and make sure to add a lot of salt. I repeat, a LOT of salt. It should taste like the sea. This will help the noodles absorb more moisture. Don’t worry about the sodium content, as most of will stay in the water. Add your noodles and cook to al dente.
Now, this next step is the most important part. Do NOT strain the noodles after cooking. You will want to make sure they are not completely soft before removing from the water. Rather than straining the noodles, take them directly from the pot of water to your saute pan. While you may think the water on the noodles will water down the consistency of your sauce, the opposite is true. The starch in the water will help to actually thicken your sauce, and help the sauce adhere to the noodles for an evenly distributed coating. Again, this the the most important part. Let the noodles finish cooking while you are mixing them into the sauce. I could obviously use a bigger pan, but this is what I have right now.
Once the sauce and the noodles have mingled for a few minutes and the noodles are coated, serve immediately with some freshly grated Parmesan on top. This recipe makes a large quantity of pasta, so you can either feed a group of people, or have a few day’s of leftovers, like me!
Thanks for checking out the recipe, let me know your thoughts or if you’ve tried it and loved it. Make sure to check out my links below, as well. Bon appetit.
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