In our new personas as shut-ins, there’s one place we can all head off to: the kitchen! Trade in the TV for the stove, the remote for a saucepan, and soon, a bright steaming bowl of week-long comfort awaits. So let’s make it: a hearty Bolognese sauce—or for the meatless, a marinara.
Gather a 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes—I like Redpack unless you can find San Marzano (the authentic Italian one). 3 or 4 garlic cloves, a medium onion, a carrot, one tablespoon of tomato paste, ½ cup of red wine, a few springs of parsley, oregano and basil (If you don’t have those, cheat with a tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning). And good olive oil, of course.
If you want a meat sauce, about a pound of ground beef or mix of beef/pork, some pork sausage, uncased and broken up, if you desire.
Peel strips of carrot with a vegetable peeler, and mince them along with the onion and garlic. Heat ¼ inch of the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat til shimmering and add the minced vegetables and tomato paste, cook, stirring often, til softened. Add meat if using and stir til browned. I usually pour off most of the meat’s fat after it’s browned. Now slowly pour in the wine, it’ll sizzle. Stir, add the crushed tomatoes, stir some more, add the herbs (best tied together with kitchen string for easy removal.) Tomatoes can be too acidic, so add some sugar to taste– I like a sweeter sauce and use about 1 to 2 tablespoons. You’ll want to add salt too, and black pepper. The key: stir, taste.. And you’re done! Let the sauce simmer for about an hour, stir in a tablespoon of butter to finish—it adds depth. And of course, you can add more wine as it cooks– I always do.
When dinner calls, boil some pasta, grate some cheese and mangia! Take your bowl back to the couch, hit the remote and watch anything but news– Unless you have a large glass of that wine alongside.