Monday, May 9, 2016

Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce

I love a good Bolognese, and for years I was treated to one as, in addition to being the major fish cooker in the house, Mr. O.P. was also master of the Bolognese. He'd collected, over the years, that old Time Life Treasury of Great Recipes"series of books, each set of which came with one hard bound book telling about the cuisine of the featured country, along with a smaller, spiral bound book of recipes. He would spend an entire day making sauce (largely, I think, because he was easily distracted during his course of duty, and also because he was the slowest vegetable dicer I think I've ever seen). At day's end, though, we were rewarded with a restaurant-quality sauce to enjoy (and massive cleanup, all of which was done by me because of that damnable rule we'd put into place when we'd first married aboutone cooks, the other cleans). And when I talk massive, I'm not just kidding around. The sauce was made in a large batch in a stock pot the size of a hot tub. It simmered all day long, tiny bubbles of red sauce exploding at the top, sending little specks of red sauce all over the top of the stove, all over the nearby cabinets, running down the side of the stove, and all over the floor. The last time I cleaned up this mess I swore that Paul Newman was the man for me, and embraced his Sockarooni Sauce not long after.

Then along came this crockpot Bolognese, and I had to give it a try. Now, generally, crockpot recipes are quick and easy. This one is indeed easy, but not at all quick as you might imagine as there is a boatload of chopping before everything can be put together. But once that is accomplished, and all ingredients are safely contained in the crock, beneath a splatter-saving lid, all you have to do is go about your day for the next six hours as the sauce slowly becomes delicious.

I used my medium-sized, 4-quart slow cooker for this recipe. Feel free to double or triple if you want a lot of sauce, increasing the size of your crockpot in the process. Bear in mind that for things to cook properly, the crockpot needs to be 2/3s full and no more.

Buono Appetito!
Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, diced fine
2 celery ribs, diced fine
1 medium carrot, diced fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 pound ground chuck
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup red wine
1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup heavy cream

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat olive oil and saute onion, celery, and carrot, and until tender. Add garlic and tomato paste stirring constantly for 30 seconds. Transfer to a 4-qt. slow cooker.

In the same pan vacated by the vegetables, brown beef; drain. Return beef to pan and stir in kosher salt and seasonings. Stir in wine, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, 7 minutes or until almost all liquid has evaporated. Add to slow cooker with tomatoes and stir to combine.

Cover and cook on LOW 6-8 hours. Stir in cream. Check sauce; it should be thick and creamy. (If a thicker sauce is desired uncover and cook 30 more minutes.) Discard bay leaf.

Serve atop the pasta of your choice.

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Mae Travels said...

Only fill the crock pot 2/3 full? That's news to me. I've had one forever and always fill it up almost to the top! What terrible thing is waiting to happen to me?

The pasta sauce sounds GREAT!

best... mae at

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

You can fill it as much as you like, of course, but manufacturers and crockpot cookbook authors suggest 2/3s full for optimum cooking.

Marigene said...

This post has me salivating...I ran out to the freezer, pulled out a package of bolognese sauce I made a couple months ago,have it simmering for dinner tonight. I had something else planned, but it can wait for another day!
Next time I make it, I am going to try your recipe...I had been using Anne Burrelle's, which is far more time consuming.
Have a great week.

Mountain Mama said...

Ok I'm drooling right now - I love a good bolognese!! This is going n the recipe pike for sure!!

Leigh @ Don't Sweat The Recipe said...

This looks and sounds delicious! Love a good bolognese!

JanVinyard said...

Hi Pattie, Sounds wonderful! I just recently had Bolognese Sauce for the first time and I was impressed with how delicious it is! I look forward to trying your recipe! Thanks! Blessings, Janet

Maria Brittis said...

What a great shsot of these delicious pasta recipe! I could live on pasta daily.