When we have a Sunday without any big plans, we like to prep a meal that takes a little longer than usual, something we cannot make on a weeknight. One of our favorite things to make is a big pot of bolognese sauce. We make a huge pot and freeze the sauce in quart size freezer bags, making it possible to enjoy the slow-cooked deliciousness on any day of the week. It’s also perfect timing for a big batch of sauce with our big move into our new house coming up later this month! We know we’ll appreciate the easy to grab dinners as we’re trying to unpack our lives.
There are so many ways to prepare a bolognese sauce. A quick online search will probably give you at least 20 different variations. We’ve tried many a different recipe but always end up falling back to our own, which features a combination of different types of meat and our secret ingredient – a cup of whole milk!
We don’t always use the same combination of meats – tonight we opted for grass-fed beef and lean ground pork. In the past we’ve also used ground veal and ground lamb depending on what was available or on sale at the grocery store. We find that using a combination of meats, rather than all beef adds an extra dimension of flavor to the sauce.
Let’s get to the milk! It is definitely a non-traditional ingredient, but it provides a richness and complexity that is otherwise hard to achieve. The sugar, while a small amount, really helps to mellow out the acidity of the tomatoes and wine to create a well-balanced sauce.
To really develop all of the flavors, the sauce needs time to cook. We like to make the sauce in our Le Creuset dutch oven to easily transfer it into the oven and let it cook for several hours. Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Bonus points if it’s a cold and rainy day!
Serve over your favorite pasta and your dinner is done!