Or should I call it the least authentic mostly veggie meat sauce? I last wrote about my favorite ever bolognese in August 2019 and I’ve made a few adjustments to my signature pasta sauce which includes a hefty amount of vegetables and a new noodle favorite! In that previous post I wrote about how “I’m a firm believer in the idea that every person needs at least one dish they can make for anyone and in all occasions, and mine just happens to be my most beloved meal. I grew up eating spaghetti as often as possible and in almost every restaurant. I think spaghetti was my safety food blanket? Meat sauce and meatballs have always been my favorites (I don’t believe in alfredo or any non-red/non-pesto sauce), so I had to develop my own recipe once I moved away and had to fend for myself in the hellish Texas landscape (I’m just kidding it wasn’t that bad).” Bolognese is incredibly easy to make and customizable for all tastebuds and the pickiest of eaters (unless you hate garlic). I changed my recipe to include more veggies because who doesn’t love foods that are good for you especially when they’re bathed in tomatoes and garlic and layers of tasty seasonings? My bolognese still includes the essential ingredients of yesteryear’s post with a couple of extras! Here’s how I make it.
- One pound hamburger meat
- Half box gemelli pasta
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 sweet onion
- Two large carrots
- Two celery stalks
- One carton cremini mushrooms
- Three heaping handfuls spinach
- Six or seven cloves garlic (a whole shit ton please)
- 12 cherry tomatoes
- Salt, pepper, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, red chili pepper flakes, basil, oregano to taste
- Chop all produce into cubed bits and group based on cooking process (onion, carrots, celery together obviously, garlic next, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes for last).
- Cook mirepoix until slightly softened, about 8 minutes. Add a generous dash of salt and pepper.
- Brown hamburger meat in same pan, but don’t overcook. Drain fat from mixture and season with salt and pepper (we season as we go).
- Add in garlic, mushrooms, and tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes until tomatoes are bursting and garlic is fragrant. Season.
- Pour crushed tomatoes into pan and heavily season with more salt and pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, red chili pepper flakes, basil, oregano.
- Simmer on low as long as possible (I cooked it down for 45 minutes).
- While sauce is simmering, boil large pot of water (salt the shit out of it!) for gemelli noodles.
- Cook noodles according to box (mine said 12-13 minutes for al dente) instructions. I cooked noodles for 11 minutes and transferred them to the pasta sauce on low-medium heat with three ladles full of pasta water.
- Mix well (add in spinach handfuls!) and cook for two minutes until noodles are perfectly al dente and full of sauce.
- Serve with salad and bread!