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Lasagne, Part I: Bolognese sauce

Posted by Jeanne on March 29, 2010

I made a lasagne on Sunday – but before I could make the lasagne, I had to make the sauce.  I did a bolognese, which is basically a meaty sauce that originated in Bologna, Italy.

Bolognese Sauce, from Martha Stewart Living, February 2001

Makes about 3 quarts.

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 onions, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 carrots, cut into 1/4-inch dice

  • 2 pounds ground sirloin
  • 2 pounds ground veal

Random side story: I bought chunks of meat to use for this, not pre-ground.  This left me in an awkward predicament as we don’t have a meat-grinder.  Luckily I was able to borrow one from friend and co-worker Jenny.

Grinding your own meat is a weird thing.  I felt kind of like I committed some sort of crime – like I was a character on The Sopranos, disposing of a body.  Which is weird because the only thing I was doing was grinding up meat from Costco. I also should have taken some pictures, because it’s actually very cool and the KitchenAid meat grinder attachment works phenomenally well.  Alas, I was covered in meat and thus there are no pictures.

/Random side story.

  • 1 quart whole milk (I actually used 1%. Total blasphemy.  It was still good.)
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 1 quart beef stock
  • 1 cup tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


In a large cast-iron or enamel pot, heat butter and olive oil over medium heat.

Add onions, celery and carrots, and cook until the vegetables are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add ground sirloin and veal, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is no longer pink.

Add milk, and cook at a gentle simmer, skimming fat from surface, until the liquid has reduced by half, about 50 minutes.Add wine, and simmer until liquid is reduced by half again, about 40 minutes.

Add beef stock, tomato paste, salt, and pepper; simmer gently until sauce thickens, 40 to 45 minutes.  The sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for 2 months.

    Finished sauce

    Next time I make this lasagne, I will only use half the sauce – that way we can have some left to serve over some spaghetti.  Or just eat with a spoon – it’s that good.

    Lasagne, Part II:  Assembly is up next!


    2 Responses to “Lasagne, Part I: Bolognese sauce”

    1. […] Lasagne, Part I: Bolognese sauce […]

    2. Naomi said

      You used 2 attachments in one weekend? Now I KNOW you’re crazy….

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