A simple bolognese comes with many food memories for me. Mostly involving boys. Boys like meat sauce. It’s just a given. It’s hearty and manly, yet also comforting like something mom would make to feed them while they were growing kids. See? It’s all about the memories.
I made my first bolognese when I was 14 for Aaron, my high school boyfriend. I shopped for all the ingredients myself – especially confused that you’d put carrots in tomato sauce. I studied my mom’s Joy of Cooking recipe with each step: the chopping, sautéeing, sweating, browning, simmering, stirring. I was on my own on this cooking endeavor. I was so anxious about doing it right and if he would like it. I learned so much that afternoon.
I didn’t know I would want to become very familiar with this kind of adventure as an adult. It’s still a treat to me when I learn in the kitchen. I really should do this more. In addition to the joy I get from cooking, there’s also a zen that comes with it. Life isn’t complicated in here. Men aren’t confusing. Work isn’t overwhelming. It’s ok that I’m not doing something more or making more plans. I crave these moments of uncomplicated. Thank you, food.
This bolognese is not a challenge. It’s uncomplicated. At least I hope it’s not for you if you would like to try it. I threw this together within in hour when I made impromptu plans to have guest over for dinner. Running to the market for supplies (don’t forget a crusty baguette for garlic bread), swiftly getting the ingredients into the pot, cleaning as I’m going (I rarely do this, but when I do I love myself), teeing up the pasta to cook and the dishes for serving, saving a minute to check your hair isn’t a complete mess. Brush off your shoulder. Damn nice work.
It doesn’t take much to impress me or bring me joy. I’d like to think this bolognese is the same way. A simple way to impress and bring joy. We ate comfortably on the couch with a bottle of pale rosé. With a salad of torn local lettuces and heirloom tomatoe slices. We sopped up the sauce with thick pieces of garlic bread. Casual. Easy. Memorable. Uncomplicated.
Sunday Pasta – Uncomplicated Bolognese
In a heavy sauce pan, heat about 1/4 cup olive oil. Sauté onion (about one whole, chopped) and a few cloves of chopped garlic. Once onions are soft, add carrot (about 2 whole, shredded) and stir. Add ground beef, break up pieces, and stir until browned. Once the beef is browned, add a can of whole peeled tomatoes (squish tomatoes in your hand to break up before adding) and a can of crushed tomatoes. Simmer on low for a while. If needed, add some tomato paste to thicken. Season with salt, pepper, oregano, basil. Spoon over thick pasta & sprinkle with Parm.
For garlic bread – melt butter and a few chopped cloves of garlic in a small sauce pan. Pour over bread that’s halved lengthwise. Bake for about 10 minutes in a 400° oven or until browned.