Despite being the penultimate day of November, yesterday was a stunner. The shining sun against the bright blue sky, usually a harbinger of frigid temperatures, beckoned me out to the fifty degree day. I donned a mere long-sleeved tee and fleece vest, long pants and sneakers. No hat, gloves, scarf or jacket.
I started my walk. A brisk walk. A brisk day. Heading towards the river. Admiring the few remaining flowers adorning my neighbors’ yards, here a yellow rose, there a few hydrangeas holding on to the vestiges of their dusty pink and blue before browning.
Crisscrossing the river, hopping from bridge to bridge, I did everything I could to stay in sunshine. My face chasing the sun like a field of sunflowers, happy when the sun emerged from behind buildings as I walked, and only turning to make my way home when the sun was definitively behind me.
Knowing that the week would be a bit more dreary, I decided to make a hearty meat sauce, similar to a Bolognese, when I got home to fortify me for the next few days.
Bolognese-style Meat Sauce
I have no pretensions of making a true Bolognese sauce, but I got some inspiration to spice up my normal meat sauce with the addition of vegetables and wine.
– 1-2 T olive oil
– 3 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 onion, diced
– 2 carrots, diced
– 2 celery stalks, diced
– 1 lb ground beef
– 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
– 1.5 C canned tomatoes
– 1 C red wine (I used a Bordeaux)
– salt and pepper
Prepare the vegetables: Saute garlic, onion, carrot, and celery in olive oil over low heat until soft, approximately 20-25 minutes. Remove vegetables to bowl.
Prepare the meat: In the same pan, saute ground beef over low until brown, about 7-10 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir well. Then add tomatoes, sauteed vegetables, and red wine.
Simmer and simmer and simmer: Allow the meat and vegetables to simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding water if the sauce gets too thick. The liquid should reduce down by about 1/3, leaving you with a thick, rich hearty sauce for your favorite pasta.