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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  1. Mmmm... this is the sauce you were talking about. I've been waiting for it! And this fall weather is perfect for long simmering sauces. Thank you for sharing it!

  2. This looks SO awesome. I'll have to tell hubby I HAVE to buy a cast iron dutch oven so I can make this! haha! Can't wait to try making this. It seriously made my mouth water!

  3. I use my 'How to Cook Everything' cookbook all the time! It really is the best kitchen resource.

    Putting bacon into your sauce sounds yummy. That's something I've not tried, but will definitely do next time! Thanks for the suggestion.

  4. Oh, I LOVE How to Cook Everything! It's replaced the classic Joy of Cooking as my go-to cookbook!

    I clearly never looked up his bolognese sauce though because I hadn't thought of putting bacon in my sauce. Maybe that addition would make it more appealing to my 9yo. It's worth a try if it means not having him whine through dinner every time we have spaghetti.

  5. Now that is one gorgeous, mouth-watering meal, Carrie! I will definitely have to make this soon. It will make Mr. GFE (meat and pasta guy) and me both very happy!


  6. It's chilly here in Colorado this morning and your spaghetti looks delicious. I know what you mean about it being "comfort" food. I agree, it's the same in this household. Your version looks delicious. I sometimes add carrots to my tomato sauces as it adds nice sweetness. But bacon? That's a new one. Although I imagine it adds a nice salty twist to the recipe. Interesting. I might have to try that one. And by the way, your plated meal with the added bread and salad looks wonderful. Can I come for lunch (actually, I'd eat that for breakfast). =)

  7. YUM Carrie!! I am also going to make your vegan bread next week (assuming I survive this week, LOL!), so this will go perfectly with it!

    BTW, I made your chocolate vegan cake recipe and OMG, so sinfully tasty (especially with the added chocolate chips).


  8. Sarah - yay!! If you try it I hope you really like it! It's definitely one of my favorites! And I read up on Bolognese sauces before I made this... it's actually a very traditional recipe!

    Jenn - Casey would DEFINITELY love this sauce!

    Tiffany & Jennifer - It's really one of my very favorite cookbooks! I love to just sit and read it! I'd love to cook my way through it sometime! lol!

    Shirley - it's definitely good for a meat & potatoes kinda guy!! :-) M loved it!!

    Melissa - Thank you girl!! You could come over ANY ol' time! Just bring some snow with you!!

    Heidi - Isn't that chocolate cake the best?? I LOVE it! I make it when I need a chocolate fix! It's nice that everything you need is in the pantry!

  9. This sounds awesome, Carrie! Mark Bittman rocks!!

  10. Carrie, this looks amazing! I have a bolognese recipe that does simmer for 4 or more hours. The house smells so good while it is cooking. I always have to swat my hubby away from the pot as he keeps trying to taste it. I am totally going to try this one next time!! It is getting to be that time where a pot of this kind of sauce simmering all day seems like the perfect thing!

  11. Mmm, spaghetti and french bread sounds SO good! This looks tasty, and I love Mark Bittman's book also. That's practically the book I learned to cook with.

  12. From Ann H. - Hello there. Just wanted to say I made the sauce and it was delicious. I did use the white wine, because I had some in the freezer from the weekend. I used both the pork and beef. I didn't use any dairy, since I am milk allergic. It was unctuous and very tasty. Going to have the leftovers for lunch today. Thank you.

  13. Hi Carrie! I made this sauce recipe tonight and it was deLISH! My 3.5yr old daughter helped me in the kitchen and we both went back for seconds. Great recipe!
    Many thanks,
    Sheri & Ava

  14. The aroma that was in my kitchen all day created such anticipation that this sauce did not disappoint. Thank you for such a delicious recipe!

  15. Cass & Danielle -- Thank you so much! That makes my day! I LOVE that sauce! I think I might have to put it in the slow cooker this weekend! :-)