With a full-time job, family, and crazy busy life, I like to find recipes that can be frozen and stretched into many meals. This classic Bolognese sauce is one such find. It is quite time-consuming and requires attention, so set aside a day at home to make it. But then you can freeze family meal size portions and individual lunch size portions to use at later dates for quick meals.
I am still partial to my mom’s meat sauce (which I make in the slowcooker), but this meat sauce is very different in flavor from Mom’s sauce, so it was a nice change. The wine really comes through in flavor! This is excellent served over pasta with a salad. Because it makes so much sauce, and freezes and reheats well, this is a great dish to make ahead for a dinner party, or to keep warm in a crockpot for a potluck.
- 2 small yellow onions, finely chopped
- 4 small or 2 large carrots, cut into ¼-inch dice
- 4 stalks celery, cut into ¼-inch dice
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 pounds lean ground beef (90% or leaner)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups dry white wine
- 2 cups low-fat milk
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 28-ounce cans plus one 14-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- Put onions, carrots, celery, butter and oil in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven and place over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are lightly browned, 8 to 15 minutes.
- Add ground beef and break it up with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and continue stirring until the meat has lost its red color, about 4 minutes.
- Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until it has almost completely evaporated, 18 to 25 minutes. Add milk and nutmeg and cook, stirring occasionally, until the milk has mostly evaporated, 12 to 18 minutes.
- Coarsely chop tomatoes and add them and their juice to the pot. Once the tomatoes have started bubbling, reduce the heat to low so that the sauce is barely simmering. Cook uncovered for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. If all the liquid evaporates before the cooking time is up, add water ½ cup at a time as needed. After 4 hours, make sure all the liquid has evaporated before you remove the sauce from the heat. Blot or skim any fat from the surface before serving.
Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Thin with a little water when you reheat it, if desired.