Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Easy Gluten Free Bolognese (Meat) Sauce Recipe

Spaghetti is a comfort food at our house. I really like a a hearty meat and tomato sauce. This is the type of sauce we generally had over spaghetti when I was growing up. Michael's mom makes a similar sauce, although she basically just serves a simple meat chili over spaghetti.

Mark Bittman's "How to cook everything" is one of my favorite cookbooks. The techniques are simple and encouraging for home cooks. Who cares how you cut your onion, just make sure it's diced somewhat evenly and it will turn out fine... especially in this delicious sauce.

I love sauces and soups that really have to simmer. The prep work takes about 30 minutes, but then you leave the sauce alone. The flavors will simmer and dance in the pot while you get the chance to catch up on that book you've ignored for a week...or maybe the laundry. (Personally I'd pick the book! :-P)

Prepare all of your ingredients before you start to cook. It makes life easier. Trust me.
 Chop your veggies and the bacon. Open the crushed tomatoes.... then enjoy the process of cooking!

Some recipes take time and this is one of them. A slow cooker would be perfect for this if you need to leave the house... but there's something innately comforting and homey about having a pot of stick-to-your-ribs spaghetti sauce simmering on the back burner.

While your sauce is cooking you'll have time to mix up a few loaves of gluten free french bread. Let them rise and on the counter and by the time your loaves have baked and cooled... it will be time for dinner!

Ragu Meat Sauce, Bolognese-Style
adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
free of gluten, soy, and options for dairy-free
printer-friendly recipe

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1 carrot, peeled and minced
1 celery stalk, minced
1/4 cup minced bacon
1/2 pound lean ground pork (or use all beef)
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1 cup dry white wine (or reserved juice from the canned tomatoes)
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes, drained (reserve juice, if needed instead of wine)
1 cup beef or chicken stock, preferably homemade
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup cream, half-and-half, or milk (We just left this out altogether and added an additional cup of tomato juice to the sauce)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Dust off your favorite cast iron dutch oven. Add the olive oil to the pan and allow it to get hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Add the minced bacon, onions, carrots, celery (and garlic if you live in my family). Saute for about 5-8 minutes or until the bacon has rendered fat in the pan and the onions are beginning to brown. Add the ground beef and ground pork (we used all beef) and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until the meat has browned through and there is no pink showing. While the beef is cooking, using a wooden spatula break up the meat so it is in very small pieces. Once the meat has browned add the crushed tomatoes and white wine or reserved tomato juice and the beef stock. Turn the heat to very low and allow the sauce to simmer for at least 2 hours and if you have time... let that sauce simmer for 4-5 hours. The sauce will have a much deeper flavor if it's allowed to simmer for 3-4 hours. If you're using cream, milk, or half and half, swirl it into the sauce right before serving and allow it to heat through. Serve it over gluten free pasta, rice, raw zucchini noodles, lightly sauteed spinach, or even on top of french bread for "manwiches" etc... just eat this stuff up and enjoy every bit of it! :-) Serve with shaved parmesan on top if you’d like, or if you’re dairy free sprinkle on some blanched almond flour! You’ll be amazed as how much it tastes like finely grated parmesan!

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