Anne Burrell knows her pasta business. I can trust her to lead me in the right direction, and I love her fervor with her recipe delivery. Anyway, I was a little short on time, and Sabrina wanted spaghetti. I happened to have the right ingredients to make bolognese, so I thought I'd put it together, but I really wanted a new approach. I discovered that Anne Burrell pureed her aromatics, and made sure that everything was well caramelized going into the dish, creating a much deeper flavor. So, feel free to check out her recipe at the bottom of the page, but unless you have about 5 hours or so to make it, I suggest giving my recipe a try. Trust me, this recipe is fairly easy, and only takes about 1 1/2 hours. That should be a little more manageable, and the dish is SUPER-GOOD!
Let's get the ingredients together!
• 1/2 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
• 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2"chunks
• 2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2" chunks
• 4 cloves garlic
• 2 - 3 Tbls olive oil
• 1/2 lb ground beef
• 1 lb ground turkey
• 4 slices thick Applewood bacon, diced
• 2 Tbls tomato paste
• 1 cup Pinot Noir
• 1 -28 oz. can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
• 1/2 cup water, more if needed
• 1 fresh thyme bundle, (about 10 sprigs)
• 2 bay leaves
• Kosher salt and Pepper
• 1/4 tsp crushed red chile flakes
• 1 lb pasta, like spaghetti, mostaciolli or casarecce
• 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
Place the carrot chunks, diced onion, garlic cloves and celery chunks into a food processor, and blend until a puree is formed. In a large pot over medium-high heat, and 2 Tbls of olive oil, and place carrot-onion puree into the pot. Season the mixture really well with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring regularly until the mixture becomes dry and starts to brown, about 15 min. Once brown, reserve to a bowl, cover and keep warm.
Put the bacon in the pot, adding a little more oil if necessary, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook the bacon until almost crisp, and extract as much bacon fat as you can without burning it, about 10 min. Reserve bacon to a paper-lined plate and set aside.
Meahwhile, cut the "bricks" of ground turkey and beef into sections, roughly 1 1/2" squares, and season well with salt and pepper. Turn the heat up to medium-high again, and place ground meat squares into the bacon fat, searing as best as possible. Season the tops of the meat squares, as they brown, with more salt and pepper. Brown for about 3 min per side, turning once. You want them to just cook through, not all they way. (If you need to do this in two step, reserve browned meat on a loosely covered dish, and repeat the process with the uncooked meat). Once the meat is well-browned, place any reserved browned meat back into the pot, and mash with a potato masher until nice and crumbly.
Add the tomato paste, stirring until well incorporated, and brown for about 5 min. Deglaze with the red wine, and stir. Let reduce for about 5 min. Strain the tomatoes, reserving any juice, and crush them slightly to squeeze out and strain the seeds. Place crushed tomatoes in the food processor and puree. Add reserved juice back into the tomatoes. Add the reserved carrot-onion mixture, cooked bacon, thyme bundle, chile flakes, bay leaves, tomato puree and water to the pot, and stir. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to medium-low and cover more than halfway with the lid, and cook for about an hour, stirring occaisionally. Add a little water if the mixture gets too thick along the way.
Prepare a salted pot of water over high heat, and start boiling. Add the pasta you would like, and cook until al dente, (to manufacturers instructions). Check the bolognese, taste for seasoning, and remove the bay leaves and thyme bundle. If the mixture is a little thick, place the lid completely over the pot, and turn the heat to low.
When the pasta is ready, strain and reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Remove half of the bolognese from the pot, cover and keep warm. Add pasta to the pot, stir in some of the pasta water, and let simmer slowly until the pasta starts to pick up the sauce, about 3 - 5 min. Add a little more pasta water if you feel it is too thick.
When ready to serve, scoop pasta into bowl, top with any reserved bolognese if needed, and grated Parmesan. Serve with some garlic bread, or a nice salad.