Sorry for the song lyric reference (does anyone know Funkoar anyway?) but it was the only thing I could think of when starting this post. For the first time ever, I’m going to post our family’s favorite dinner recipe. I posted on my Facebook today that my children’s all-time favorite Bolognese sauce was simmering on the stove, and would be waiting for them when all the soccer carpools, cross country meets and after school play dates were over. My friends requested the recipe, which by the way, is VERY easy and has no dairy. I immediately thought of all of you, and wanted to share this recipe with all my blog readers too. So many of you have written to me asking for dinner ideas, and here is one that my children LOVE. All credit goes to my wonderful mother-in-law; it is her family’s special recipe that her grandfather in Italy used to make for his family. She raised five boys who still love this meat sauce today and she makes it every year for Christmas Eve (with homemade Ravioli but that actually is a lot more work).
Here’s what I love about her recipe: it only takes about 10-15 minutes to chop and saute the very basic ingredients, then it just sits on the stove and simmers for about four hours or more. Don’t be alarmed by this; if you must leave your house to run through the carpool line for school or sports, simply turn off the burner and just start it up again when you return (just don’t leave for hours at a time with the burner turned off). I love this sauce because I spend just a few minutes after kindergarten drop off to get it going, and then it cooks itself. All I have to do at 5 o’clock is boil some pasta.
If you are familiar with the traditional versions of Bolognese meat sauces, you probably know it is made with white wine and whole milk. Long before I had children I used to make thisÂ version, and will admit it was time consuming. But my mother-in-law’s recipe doesn’t bother with any of that, and just uses good ingredients with a punch of cinnamon to give the sauce the right spice. In fact, cinnamon and cloves are often used in traditional Italian recipes. As you know, any recipe with cinnamon is a recipe I LOVE. One more thing I love about this recipe is it freezes very well, and I always make double batches to freeze.
Don’t worry, I’ll still post my favorite baking recipes, but figured you all would appreciate a Dairy Free Bolognese sauce that simply ROCKS!!! Enjoy!
Grandma Rudnicki’s Bolognese (Meat) Sauce
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 T. fresh parsley leaves (or 1 T. dried)
1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground beef (I love ground chuck but if you want one lower in fat, ground sirloin is fine)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 T. kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 small 6 oz. can tomato paste, mixed with 6 c. water in a large bowl (I use a whisk to mix together)
Heat a large heavy pot (I use a dutch oven) and pour in olive oil. Once hot, add celery, carrots, and onion. Saute five minutes or until translucent. Add garlic and parsley, saute for 2 minutes. Add ground meats and break up with a wooden spoon, cooking until meat is no longer pink, about 6-8 minutes. Once cooked, add the cinnamon, salt and pepper.
Add the tomato paste and water mixture to the meat mixture. Bring to a simmer and simmer on low for at least four hours, skimming fat off top with a ladle as necessary. Sauce should be quite thick, but if you find it is drying out too quickly, add a tablespoon or two of water to thin it out.
Serve over pasta or freeze!