Gluten Free Bolognese with Pasta Recipe
I know that I have no right, living in Florida, to complain about the cold – but that’s not going to stop me! It has been freezing here! And by freezing I mean the temps have had the audacity to dip into the 40’s. OK, I know that’s nothing compared to the blizzards people are experiencing but we have thin blood here on the Gulf, really thin blood!
Cold weather is a perfect time for a slow simmered meat sauce with gluten free pasta. I love to have a classic Bolognese simmering away making the house feel cozy, and I love even more the fruits of my labors, a hearty, rib-sticking meat sauce that warms the body and soul.
Here’s how I make mine.
I use a combination of ground meats: beef, veal, and pork – you could use turkey or chicken in place of the veal or pork to lighten it up if you like. I also use good olive oil, San Marzano canned tomatoes, double strength tomato paste (the kind in the tube), the typical veggies: carrots, onions, celery, and garlic, some herbs, milk, white wine, a touch of brown sugar, and my secret weapon – a touch of balsamic vinegar.
I grind the veggies into a coarse paste in the food processor
and brown them in some olive oil with a big pinch of salt – and I do mean brown them, I let them cook for a good 15 to 20 minutes to develop tons of flavor.
Cook the veggies until all the liquid has evaporated.
Add the meat, breaking it up (I like to use a potato masher) and once again it is time to develop flavor by browning the meat well.
Don’t be skimpy; let it cook for another 15 to 20 minutes. Also add in another big pinch of salt and pepper when you add the meat, we are building layers of flavor here.
Add your tomato paste, cook, stirring for a couple minutes to waken up the flavor, add your wine and cook it down, then add the tomatoes (with their juice), herbs, and some water and then let it simmer away until the liquid reduces. Then add another 2 cups of water, simmer for another hour or so, add another 2 cups of water
and simmer until thick.
And I do mean thick! See how my spoon stands up? Add the milk, simmer for another 15 minutes, stir in the balsamic, cook for another minute or two and you’re done! Well, except you need to fish out the thyme and bay leaves, then you’re done.
This isn’t a quick, thirty minute meal; it’s a half day project. This sauce is all about layering flavor and reducing it down. Don’t feel rushed and skimp on the time, the results are well worth the effort. And the good news is that at the end of this you not only have dinner for tonight, but you also have another batch of sauce for another night. It freezes well and seriously, it just gets better with age. You can make your thirty minute meal the next time!
Some people like to serve Bolognese with spaghetti, I prefer linguini; it stands up to the sauce better in my humble opinion. I like Pastariso organic brown rice linguini, made from whole grain brown rice, it cooks up perfectly al dente. I also save a bit of the starchy pasta cooking water before draining the pasta. I cook the sauce, pasta and water together for a final finish. I was told to do this by a wonderful Italian man once and I almost always do as I am told (OK, I almost never do as I am told but in this case, I do!)
- 2 medium onions chopped
- 4 carrots chopped
- 2 ribs of celery chopped
- 5 garlic cloves chopped
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground veal
- 1 pound ground pork
- 2 tablespoon double strength tomato paste
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 (28 ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 cup milk
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 pound Pastariso organic brown rice linguini
- Parmesan cheese grated
Put the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in a food processor and grind to a coarse pate. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, add the vegetables and a good pinch of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid has evaporated and the vegetables are browned, 15 – 20 minutes.
Add the ground meat and a good pinch of both salt and pepper. Break the meat up with a spatula or potato masher and brown the meat well, stirring frequently. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes to really develop the flavor.
Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook until most of the wine has evaporated, about 2 – 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes (along with their juices) the bay leaves, thyme, and brown sugar. Add enough water to cover the meat by an inch, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for an hour, stirring occasionally. After an hour, the sauce should have reduced and become fairly thick. Add another 2 cups of water and simmer for another hour. If the sauce is reducing too fast, you can always add more water. Once the sauce has reduced again, add another 2 cups of water and simmer for another hour or until the sauce is very thick. Add the milk and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook, stirring for another minute or two. Taste the sauce and add more salt and pepper is needed. Fish out the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.
During the last half hour of cooking, bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the linguini and cook according to the package directions. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta.
Remove ½ the sauce and reserve for another meal (it can be refrigerated or frozen), add the linguini to the sauce in the pan and toss to coat. Add the reserved pasta water and cook the sauce, pasta, and water together over medium heat until the water is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, stir or toss and serve with some grated Parmesan cheese.
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