a lazy bolognese

This is a great dinner party recipe that can be served in a big messy pot on the table but gets rave reviews every time. It also makes the house smell like you've been cooking all day, which you sort of have but not like people think. Nothing about the directions is hard but it requires you being there, observing, adding, waiting, stirring. I find it quite mediative and rewarding. The basic strategy is add liquid and reduce. Vegetables, meat, wine, milk and tomatoes give all their concentrated goodness while their liquid evaporates away. In fact, even after you add all the ingredients, it helps to keep adding water—a strange cooking concept but wholly approved by Marcella Hazan-- which even further concentrates this meaty but nuanced sauce. It's so yummy that all you need is some spaghetti underneath it, and maybe a green salad and bread.


Lazy Bolognese

  • 1 onion
  • carrot large
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 pound pork sausage (removed from casing)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1.5 cups tomatoes peeled in juice

Put the kids in front of the TV. Roughly chop veggies then pulse in a food processor until fine. Melt butter and oil in large pot and cook vegetables (plus salt and pepper) over med-high heat for 10-15 minutes until water evaporates and they start to turn brown. Add meat and sausage, breaking up with wooden spoon. Add salt and pepper and cook for 10-15 minutes until browned. Add milk and stir occasionally until it evaporates. Add wine and do the same. Add tomato paste and tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes as you add them from the can. When the sauce returns to a boil, turn down and cook at "lazy simmer*" for 3 hours. But continue to monitor it and add water if it starts to dry out, which it will. 

* amazing phrase courtesy of Marcella Hazan