Basic Bolognese, gifts they never return

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I don’t know about you but do you ever get to the point where you feel you just have too much “stuff”. With Father day last weekend I am reminded of this as my dad always says, “No gifts, no gifts. I have everything I need”. He is sweet and really think he just doesn’t likes us spending money on him. However, I think he has a good point. “I have everything I need”

Over the years we do accumulate a lot of stuff myself for example with a toddler in the house we have loads of stuff. Although at the time, I am sure I felt we needed the “stuff” and people give thoughtful gifts. There comes a point where enough is enough. But just like last weekend when I heard my dad say once again as he dose every Fathers day and birthday, “no gifts please” I still want to give him something. Gifts are not about just spending money but they are a way to show we are thinking of you, we care, a way to show love and appreciation.

So last week as I was making a big batch of Bolognese, my dad’s favorite, getting ready to host a nice Father day dinner celebrating the dads in my life my husband, father and two brothers. However, things just did not work out. I had to cancel dinner. I was a little bummed not to be able to celebrate with them but it gave me a great idea for a gift I knew my dad would not refuse. I packed up the Bolognese sauce and when I saw him later that week surprised him with my gift. You see no matter how old we are or how much stuff we have we all need to eat.

A gift of quality food made with love is by far one of the best and most appreciated gifts I can give. Who in your life could benefit from a simple gift of food? Give it a try make a favorite sauce, jam, bread, cookies or pack a full meal for someone sick or just had a baby. These gifts are the ones they really need but will seldom ask for.

Basic Bolognese

Basic Bolognese







Basic Bolognese

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil

2 large onions small dice, about 2 cups

2-3 carrots small dice, about 1 cup

1-3 garlic cloves minced about 1-2 teaspoons

1 pound ground beef

1 pound mild/spicy ground Italian pork sausage

½ red wine optional (Shush, I like to drink a little while I am cooking)

2, 28oz. can tomatoes (whole, diced or crushed will all work and give different textures)

2 cups beef, chicken or vegetable broth

1 bay leaf

1-3 Parmesan rinds optional (these add a subtle saltiness adding to the depth of flavor)

1-2 teaspoons salt

1-2 teaspoons pepper

Heat butter or oil in a large a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over medium heat. Cook onions, carrot, and garlic stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. While vegetables are cooking season with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper.

Add meat, stirring and breaking up lumps cooking until browned about 5 more minutes

If using wine add and cook 5 more minutes until slightly reduced. Stir in tomatoes, broth, bay leaf and Parmesan rind if using, gently simmer, uncovered, until sauce is thickened, 2-6 hours. Adjust seasoning if necessary remove bay leaf and remaining pieces of Parmesan rinds if it has not completely broken down.

 A note on this recipe: My Italian Grandma never used a recipe for her Bolognese or “gravy” as she would call it. I developed this recipe as a basic starting point for a basic Bolognese but feel free to adjust it as you wish. She would say just use good quality basic ingredients and let them simmer on the stove. The real key to a good basic Bolognese sauce is time. Start it in the morning and let it simmer all day long. Add more or less liquid or tomatoes depending on how thick you like your sauce. Taste it as you go and adjust the seasoning as needed. Serve with pasta or spaghetti squash noodles a bottle of wine and family or good friends.

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