I guess I’m on a bit of a roll this week with my Italian themed meals! The zucchini lasagna I posted a few days ago is a non-traditional lasagna that’s perfect for those looking to add some more veggies into their day or to lighten things up. Today, we are going a bit more traditional and making a bolognese sauce that’s perfect for the days when you want a hearty meal. While whipping up some spaghetti with meat sauce is the perfect family friendly solution for busy days, I think once you see this slow cooked version you’ll see that with only a few extra minutes of your time you will end up with a meal that everyone will rave about. Now, while I say it’s more traditional, I don’t mean to imply that it’s anything truly or totally authentic. Many of you may have family recipes passed down for generations, and I’m guessing none of them involve the use of a slow cooker. That being said, I think this is a great way for those of us more used to the jarred sauce, quick skillet version to step up our game.
I think starting with a mixture of meats is key to getting a ton of great flavor here without overloading the sauce with fat. I used a lean ground beef and added ground pork. Browning up the meat is a bit of extra work from those “dump and go” slow cooker meals, but not much, and the results will be outstanding, making it worth a few additional minutes of your time. If you wanted to make this on a weekday, you could brown up the meat ahead of time.
Also critical to this recipe, some fresh veggies. But not to worry, I’ve learned a quick trick! Using one of these little choppers makes quick work of getting the veggies chopped and ready.
Your next investment in this meal will be a nice bottle of wine. Well, it doesn’t take the whole bottle, so you will have plenty left to enjoy with your meal if you choose. But you want a good quality wine that tastes good for drinking so that it will make your sauce taste so good for eating!
Last step is your choice of noodles!! It’s so amazing to walk in the door at the end of the day and have a slow cooked, home-cooked bolognese that tastes so much like the one your grandma may have spent hours on but you were able to let it cook on it’s own while you went on with your busy day!
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 pound ground sirloin
- 2 (28oz) cans whole peeled tomatoes
- 14oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2 Carrots, peeled
- 2 Celery stalks
- ½ Yellow onion
- 3 Garlic cloves
- ½ cup wine
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- Pinch of nutmeg
- ½ cup heavy cream, for later
- Fresh basil, for serving
- Grated Parmesan, for serving
- 16 oz pasta, for serving
- Brown ground beef and pork over medium high heat until fully cooked and transfer to slow cooker
- Blend or smash whole peeled tomatoes and add to meat along with crushed tomatoes
- Finely chop carrots, celery, onion and garlic
- Stir in wine, seasoning and a pinch of nutmeg
- Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4
- Stir in cream and let continue to heat through for about 15 minutes while you cook pasta according to package directions
- Serve sauce over pasta with fresh slivered basil and grated cheese or as desired
I used a submersion blender to make quick work of blending up the whole tomatoes
The cream is a key step as it cuts the acidity. You could also use whole milk if preferred.
I used a thin linguine pasta but any of your favorite pasta shapes would work well.
Looking for more Italian Style Meals?
How about this chicken slow cooked in tomato sauce?!
Or maybe tortellini soup is your style? (I’ve gotten tons of emails with rave reviews on this one!)
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