Bolognese Sauce (a ragù of ground meat, onions, tomato puree, and red wine) is derived from the French word ragoût, a stew of ingredients which became popular in the 18th century. Served with pasta. Bolognese Sauce originated in Bologna, Italy with Alberto Alvis who cooked for a local Cardinal Barnaba Chiaramonti, who later became Pope Pius VII.
In 1891 Pellegrino Artusi, an Italian businessman and writer, kicked it up a notch when he published Maccheroni alla bolognese, in his cookbook. The recipe consisted of finely minced veal, pancetta, butter, onion, carrots, chicken liver, and dried mushrooms (truffles) cooked in a broth (no tomatoes). A final touch of cream was added to the sauce to provide the finishing touch. The pasta was to be made fresh, cooked until al dente and the dish was topped with Parmigiano cheese.
Bolognese Sauce - Vegetarian Version
Or you can substitute chopped veal, pork (pancetta) and beef
Top pasta with this classic, plant-based, Italian gravy and sprinkle with Parmesan Grated Cheese and fresh chopped basil. It can also be served with vegetables like julienne cut zucchini, spaghetti squash, and on Italian bread. This sauce can be frozen in airtight containers for up to 3 months, and vacuum containers for up to 6 months. Note: for Classic Bolognese replace mushrooms with 1 pound each; ground veal, pork and beef.
EQUIPMENT: French chef knife, cutting board, blender, food processor, 6-quart stockpot, 8-quart stockpot, large sauté skillet, large spoons for stirring
PREPARATION TIME: 2 hours - Makes about 12 servings
In the 6-quart stockpot, prepare your Basic Tomato Sauce, by simmering tomatoes, herbs, sugar and vegetable stock over medium-low 180°F (80°C), about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. (Scroll down for instructions on peeling tomatoes).
- 3 pounds ripe San Marzano plum tomatoes, peeled and crushed or blended.
- 2 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped fine.
- 2 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped fine.
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano chopped fine.
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped fine.
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine
- 1 teaspoon fresh mint, chopped fine.
- 2 tablespoons organic sugar or sugar substitute
- 1 cup vegetable stock or filtered water
Tomato Paste Sofrito (8-quart stockpot)
- 1 large Spanish or Vidalia onion julienne cut, #3 cutting cone
- 3 medium carrots julienne cut, #2 cutting cone.
- 2 stalks celery sliced thin, #4 cutting cone.
- 1 small pepper, diced fine.
- 1 medium bulb garlic (6-8 cloves) very finely sliced, #4 cutting cone.
- 1 6 ounce can Woodstock Organic Tomato Paste
- 1 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay)
Mushrooms (large sauté skillet)
- 1 pound Umami mushrooms julienne cut, #2 cutting cone
- 1 pound Cremini mushrooms julienne cut, #2 cutting cone.
- 1 pound Portobello mushrooms julienne cut, #2 cutting cone.
While your basic tomato sauce is simmering, prepare the tomato paste sofrito.
In a hot, dry 8-quart stockpot over medium heat 270°F (132°C), dry sauté the onion, carrot, celery, pepper and garlic until slightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Do not allow the residue that forms on the bottom of the pan to burn.
Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the paste turns reddish-brown in color, 7 to 10 minutes.
Deglaze the pan with white wine, stir until alcohol is cooked off and the mixture thickens.
Add the basic tomato sauce. Stir to combine the ingredients, cover the pan, open the vent, and reduce the heat to medium-low 180°F (80°C). Simmer for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
In the large skillet over medium-low 180°F (80°C), sweat down the mushrooms, for about 15-20 minutes. Add the mushrooms to the sauce. Stir, cover the pan, and open the vent. Simmer, stirring occasionally.
The process of sweating is to make the mushrooms release their natural moisture and prevent it from evaporating. To trap the condensation, cover the pan and close the vent, stewing in their own juices, intensifying the flavor.
TO SERVE: (optional) add 1 to 2 cups of heavy cream substitute (blend tofu and unflavored soy milk until smooth).
How to peel tomatoes.
Place a pot of water on the stove and let it come to a rolling boil. Place a bowl of ice water next to the stove so it is easily accessible. Rinse the tomatoes clean and remove any stems that are still attached.
Using a sharp knife, slice a shallow X into the bottom of each tomato (opposite the stem side).
Gently place the tomatoes into the boiling water.
Boil until you see the X begin to split open wider, about 1 minute. Do not boil longer than 2 minutes or they will begin to soften and cook.
Remove the tomatoes from the boiling water using a slotted spoon, and place into the bowl of ice water and let them cool off. This will help to stop any "cooking" that has started.
Remove the tomatoes from the ice water. Begin peeling the skin at the X, pulling the skin back gently.
Not much tomato flesh should come off with the skin-- if the flesh comes off or the tomato seems soft/mushy, you have cooked it a bit too long. Try cooking it for a shorter time on the next round.
Discard the skin.
Place the tomatoes in the blender and pulse until thoroughly blended.
Proceed with the recipe.
NUTRITIONAL BREAKDOWN PER SERVING: Calories 190; Fat Grams 4; Carbohydrate Grams 10; Protein Grams 17; Cholesterol mg 63; Sodium mg 364.