Dinner: Spaghetti with Bolognese Sauce

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With busy lives, sometimes you need a recipe you can get together in a short amount of time.  One way to do that is with one of the best inventions ever…the crock pot.  We had one of those nights last week where we wouldn’t even be home until around 6:30.  We wanted something that we could make mostly ahead of time and put together in minutes.  Going back to one of the wife’s blogs, SkinnyTaste.com, we found a crock pot recipe for some bolognese sauce.  We hadn’t had pasta in a while, so we thought we would give it a chance.

The wife put together the sauce during the day and through it on the crock pot.  The recipe makes a crap ton of sauce.  With the serving size being a half cup, it makes a lot.  We ended up having two extra tupperware containers full of it (which made for great leftovers).  While the sauce turned out great, it could have used some extra spices…maybe some garlic, red pepper flakes.  It just needed a little extra kick.  The good part of that is the sauce is a good base if you wanted to throw some of your own favorite things into it.

Once we got home all we needed to do was put together our salads and cook up the pasta.  For this one we used some whole grain angel hair pasta.  It’s a healthier option and still tastes great.  While the pasta cooked up we cut up fresh tomatoes and cucumber from the garden.  Throw that in with some romaine lettuce, croutons, parmesan cheese, and you have yourself a salad.  We didn’t really have any dressing at the house so we made a quick dressing using olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper.  In a pinch it’s pretty satisfying.

After the noodles were done we strained them, threw some sauce on top, grated on some parmesan and dug into dinner.  We both added some red pepper flakes to give it some extra bite, but overall it was pretty good.  We would definitely make it again.  In fact, a few days later I cooked up some more pasta, heated up the sauce, and had myself a damn good dinner.

Crock Pot Bolognese Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz pancetta, chopped (or center cut bacon)
  • 1 tbsp butter (or olive oil)
  • 1 large white onion, minced
  • 2 celery stalks (about 3/4 cup), minced
  • 2 carrots (about 3/4 cup), minced
  • 2 lb 95% lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 2 – 28 oz cans crushed tomatoes (I love Tuttorosso)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup half & half cream

Directions:

  1. In a large deep saute pan, sauté pancetta on low heat until the fat melts, about 4-5 minutes. Add butter, onions, celery and carrots and cook on medium-low heat until soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Increase flame to medium-high; add meat, season with salt and pepper and sautéuntil browned. Drain the fat then add wine; cook until it reduces down, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add to crock pot. Add tomatoes, bay leaves, salt and pepper; cover and set slow cooker to LOW 6 hours.
  4. After the 6 hours, adjust salt and pepper to taste, add half & half and parsley; stir andserve over your favorite pasta.
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