Bolognese Sauce

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With this meaty ragu stored in your freezer, you can have a hearty pasta meal in minutes. This recipe makes 2 quarts of sauce, enough for 2 to 2 1/2 pounds of pasta. You can freeze the sauce in small containers, and then take out only what you need. Simply heat the sauce in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove while the spaghetti is cooking. There's no need to thaw, just take care to add a few tablespoons of water to the pan first so the sauce doesn't stick.

Prep time: 30 Minutes

Total time: 3 Hours

Yield: Serves 12

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Ingredients

  • 2 strips bacon finely chopped
  • 2 medium onions finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 lbs. ground beef chuck
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 cups milk
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes in puree

Directions

  1. In a Dutch oven, cook bacon, onions, celery, carrot, and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes.
  2. Add beef; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring and breaking up meat with a spoon, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes.
  3. Raise heat to high. Add milk and nutmeg; cook, stirring frequently, until milk has evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring frequently, until wine has evaporated, 6 to 8 minutes.
  4. Stir tomatoes into beef mixture; simmer gently over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally and adding water as needed to prevent sauce from becoming too dry (1 1/2 to 2 cups total), until sauce is thick and beef is very tender, about 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper.
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