Classic Bolognese Sauce



  •     4 pounds of ground sirloin
  •     5 tablespoons olive oil
  •     2 carrots, finely chopped
  •     1 celery stalk, finely chopped
  •     1 onions, finely chopped
  •     3 garlic cloves, minced
  •     up to 1 bottle of red wine
  •     1 to 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  •     8 to 10 cups of canned whole tomatoes, crushed through a food mill (to remove seeds).
  •     salt and pepper to taste
  •     fresh basil



Step 1: Take the ground sirloin out of the fridge and lay it on a tray. Let it come to room temperature, so that it will sear rather than steam when it goes into the pan.


Step 2: Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a wide-bottomed saucepan, add meat to the pan, making sure that the meat is covering the base of the pan.

Step 3: Leave for about 5 to 6 minutes, so that the meat sears underneath and heats through completely before you start stirring (otherwise it will ooze protein and liquid and it will steam rather than sear). Stir meat every 4 minutes for about 10 minutes.  Remove from heat. Strain meat through a colander to remove fat.  Set aside.

Step 4: Add the vegetables and minced garlic to wide-bottomed saucepan, and sweat over high heat for 5 to 8 minutes without allowing it to color (you will need to keep stirring).


Step 5: Add meat to vegetables. Stir the  meat and vegetables every 4 minutes for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the meat starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. At this point, the meat is ready to take the wine.

Step 6: Add the wine and let it reduce to virtually nothing, then add tomato paste and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring the entire time.

Step 7: Add the crushed whole tomatoes with 2 cups of water. Bring to boil, then turn down to simmer and cook for about 2 hours, adding water, if necessary from time to time, until you have a thick sauce. Add basil.

Step 8: When you are ready to serve the bolognese sauce, cook your pasta (preferably tagliatelle, pappardelle, gnocchi, or a short pasta) and drain, reserving the cooking water. Add the bolognese sauce to the pasta and toss well, adding some of the cooking water, if necessary to loosen the sauce. Serve with freshly grated Reggiano parmesan cheese.

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