Beef Bolognese with Fettuccine is one of our favorite dishes. It gets made at least once every 2 weeks and maybe even more than that when winter comes. I first saw it when a friend posted it from their social media page and it looked incredible. I always heard the name of the recipe, but never tried it. Intrigued, I watched the video (It was from Anne Burrell) and thought, “I can make this.” It is definitely a labor of love though. The recipe I use is a multi-step process, but if you love to cook and have the time, you will absolutely love it too! It is definitely based off her recipe, though I have changed it some over the years to suit my family’s taste.
I have been making this bolognese for about 3-4 years I would say. The real name is Ragu Bolognese where it really means “meat sauce,” originating from Bologna, Italy. Well, we had the opportunity to visit both Florence and Venice a couple of summers ago and I wasn’t about to let that chance go by without tasting true, authentic bolognese. Here I am (below) talking with the waiter about how I cook mine vs how they cook theirs. He was very impressed because I was pretty spot on. He said, (and I don’t do an Italian accent well, so you’ll have to improvise) “the only thing(a) you have(a) to do(a) is add(a) some chu-gah to yours!” So, I needed to add a little sugar, apparently. I was so jazzed though, because ours really did taste very similar. That was it. Solidified. My bolognese was authentic!
Noodle! Choose your noodle!
You could absolutely use any type of pasta you wish. When I think of beef bolognese, I think of it as a super hearty sauce. Bolognese needs a big noodle. I like to pair it with a fettuccine or linguine. If I’m REALLY feeling crazy and wacky with hours upon hours to spend cooking, I’ll even make my own pasta and make extra wide noodles. You could always go with spaghetti, but I sometimes feel like spaghetti gets lost in this sauce. Please don’t tell me you like to pair it with some type of shell. I can’t. We can’t be friends. To me, the shells are saved for mac and cheese or chili mac night. Bolognese is special. Go on and give it the noodle it deserves.
Beef Bolognese with Fettuccine
I start my bolognese with fettuccine with a puree of carrots, celery, onion and garlic cloves. That, and a little olive oil in the food processor to make a pulp.
So, the color should resemble this:
It did take me 2 times to get it though. Watching the video will really help if you’re unsure of how long to do something, or if you’re afraid you’ll burn it. That’s what helped me. Second, you might think you’re using way too much salt. I did too. It soaks up a ton of salt and it also will disappear when it’s met with Mr. Fettuccine. Use the salt. I guess if you’re REALLY worried, you can add as you go also. Cook this down for 10-15 minutes, scraping the bottom often. It will have a nutty smell – will smell amazing and don’t be surprised if it’s half the volume it was before.
The next thing I would say is make the full amount because you can freeze it. Clint and one of my sons doesn’t care for pasta all that much, so they make rice to put theirs over.
So… without further ado! Here it is. Drumroll please….
Beef Bolognese with Fettuccine
- 3 carrot sticks
- 2 celery stalks
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 Tbsps olive oil
- 1 1/2-2 lbs lbs ground chuck
- 2 1/4 cups of red wine (I prefer to use a cab but you can use merlot also)
- 10-12 oz tomato paste
- 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning (or a mixture of oregano and basil)
- 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tsp sugar
- 2 1/2 cups of water plus more during cooking
- 1-2 boxes of fettuccine noodles
- Parmesan Cheese
Get a big dutch oven or thick pot on medium high or just a bit higher. Rough chop your carrots, celery, onion and garlic and put them in food processor with 1 Tbsp olive oil to make a pulp.
Put other Tbsp olive oil in pot and add veggie mix. Stir and scrape about every 2-3 minutes. This will be a game of stir and wait, stir and wait, stir and wait. It will appear darker, and it will also reduce about 1/2 in size when liquid evaporates. Remove when it’s a medium brown color and it’s been cooking for about 10-15 minutes. Set aside in a bowl.
Place ground chuck in pot, scraping up any veggie leftover bits. Again, sprinkle with 1 Tbsp of salt and leave it alone! Let it cook on the bottom before you stir it. Stir every 2-3 minutes, scraping up any bits.
Add veggies back to the meat mixture and add tomato paste. Stir it around and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring about halfway in between.
Add red wine a little at a time, stirring any bits at the bottom. Let simmer 4-5 minutes, stirring about halfway in between.
Add last tsp of salt, Italian seasoning, sugar, and water and let simmer for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, taste it. Don’t worry if it tastes kind of salty to you. You will want it a little bit on the salty side. If you think it requires more salt, add it here. Add 1 cup of water, stir and wait 45 minutes. Again, a game of add water and let it cook out, add water and let it cook out. It takes about 2 to 3 times of adding water and cooking out for the flavors to fully develop.
Finally, cook noodles according to package directions and mix with sauce to serve. Top with Parmesan cheese.