You will not find a jar of Ragu in my cabinet.  That should be no surprise.  It’s not that I’m anti-Ragu — I’ve found something that is well….so much better.  For years now, I’ve been making large portions of Bolognese and then freezing it in batches.  It’s really simple to do.  Then when we have a hankering for spaghetti, I pull a bag of sauce out of the freezer, and we have a yummy dinner in no time.

I actually use a hybrid of two recipes from two of my favorite celebrity chefs — Ina Garten and Giada DeLaurentiis.  Here are the ingredients for a double batch of sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil*
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 1/2 small can of tomato paste
  • 2 – 28 ounce cans crushed tomato
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan plus extra for serving

Sautee the carrots, celery, onion and garlic on medium-high heat in roughly 4 tablespoons of olive oil for around 5-7 minutes, just until they soften.  Add the ground beef and cook until brown.  Then add the red wine and scrape up any brown bits.  Stir in the herbs, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, a tablespoon of salt and a teaspoon of pepper.  Reduce the heat and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes.  Just before you are ready to serve, stir in the heavy cream and parmesan.

Give it a taste before tossing it with your pasta.  It might need a bit more salt depending on your taste.


Like I mentioned, this is a double batch.  For this meal, I pulled enough out to toss with 3/4 pound of pasta.

bolognese gray eating

We got two meals out of it.  Then Matt filled two quart size freezer bags with the remaining sauce and placed it in the freezer for later.  On a busy night, I’ll pull one out, and we’ll be rewarded with this:

bolognese with spaghetti

And then I’ll remember why I choose this over Ragu.

*During warmer months, I grow my own basil.  When I do have fresh basil, I use it instead of the dried version.  If you have fresh basil, then simply omit this step and add roughly 1/2 cup fresh basil, chiffonade first, and then toss it in when you add the cream and parmesan.





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