You know how, growing up, you'd go over to your Italian granny's house and she'd have a big pot of something simmering away on the stove? And the aroma would drive you nearly mad with hunger, making it hard to wait to dig in?
Yeah, me either. I'm as WASPy as they come, but when I'm making this bolognese sauce I can imagine what that must have been like, because it makes my house smell a-freaking-mazing. It's all I can do to not stand at the stove with a spoon and eat it all before any of it makes it to the table. But, I always exercise the proper restraint, even when it makes it to the table, so that I can freeze half of the sauce and have another meal on a night when I want something delicious and comforting but don't feel like standing in the kitchen for an hour or two.
In all actuality, this dish is not hard to make, but does take a little time to pull together. I cheat a little, using my food processor to chop all the vegetables, which makes quick work of the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic. Even when I cut them by hand, though, the time it takes to make this sauce is well worth it. It makes for an incredibly fantastic, meaty, filling, comforting meal.
a small bunch of fresh basil, leaves and stems separated.
3/4 c. parmesan cheese
1/4 c. whole milk or cream
1 lb. pasta (we like linguine), cooked according to the directions on the box
Peel and finely chop the onion, garlic, carrots, and celery (I usually peel and chunk up the vegetables and then throw them in my food processor, pulsing until they're finely chopped but not pureed). In a large pan over medium heat, add about a Tbsp. of the olive oil, the bacon, and oregano. Cook until the bacon is golden. Add the chopped vegetables to the pan and cook until soft and lightly golden, stirring regularly. Stir in the meat, breaking it up with your spoon. Add the tomatoes and break these up with your spoon as well. Add in 1/2 c. water, salt, and pepper. Chop up the basil stems and throw them in. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
After the hour, remove the pan from the heat and add a 1/2 c. of the parmesan (or more if you're like me), the milk or cream, and the basil leaves. Stir until the cheese is incorporated. Serve over cooked pasta and top with additional parmesan and basil.