Ground beef (ground mixed pork and beef is fine too)
Onions (for the caramelized onions)
Eggplants (for the grilled eggplant)
4 to 5 small (150 g when grilled)
Celery (finely chopped)
Garlic (finely chopped)
2/3 to 1 (small to medium)
A. Extra virgin olive oil
A. Garlic (finely chopped)
2 small cloves
B. Canned diced tomatoes
1 can (400 g)
B. Soup stock cubes
B. Bay leaf (whole leaves or powder)
Make caramelized onions using 2 onions (Recipe ID: 2197705).
Make the grilled eggplant, using either Recipe ID: 1845485 or Recipe ID: 2304376, and peel the eggplant. Cut up the flesh as small as possible and put into a bowl.
Put the A. ingredients in a cold pan, and start cooking the garlic in oil over low heat.
When the pan has a nice garlic fragrance and the garlic is lightly colored, add the celery and carrots. Add the C. ingredients and sauté while shaking the pan.
Sauté the vegetables for about 5 minutes while stirring constantly, to draw out the sweetness of the vegetables. This is very important.
Add the ground meat to the pan. Set the heat to medium.
Add a generous amount of the nutmeg from the C. ingredient list, and sauté the ground meat until it is completely crumbly.
Add the red wine. Turn up the heat a bit and simmer well until it's almost all evaporated.
Add the B. ingredients to the pan, along with the caramelized onions and grilled eggplant you made in Steps 1 and 2. Add any liquid that came out of those vegetables too.
When the sauce comes to a boil, transfer the pan to the burner with the weakest heat. Set it to the lowest level possible (level 1) and simmer the sauce for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Crush the tomatoes and eggplants occasionally with a wooden spatula, and simmer the sauce well.
I leave the sauce alone for the first hour. After that I stir it up every 15 minutes or so. Be careful not to let it burn.
Simmer until it's reduced to half its original volume. The volume is important rather than how long I say to cook it. The cooking time will vary depend on how high the cooking heat is and how well the pan you use transmits heat.
The sauce should be simmered long enough that it becomes quite thick - it should drop with a plop when you scoop some up with a wooden spatula. The sauce will become very richly flavored.
Add the C. ingredients or other dried herbs of your choice to the sauce, and it's done.
You can eat it right away, but let it rest overnight if possible. It will taste even richer and more delicious the next day.
To cook the pasta the regular way: Put 3 liters of water in a large pot and bring to a boil. When it has almost reached a boil, add 2 tablespoons of salt (1% salt).
The amount of salt you add to the pasta water is important since it decides the flavor of the finished dish, so please measure it out properly.
Put the pasta in the hot water, and cook it for 30 seconds to a minute less than indicated on the package. Cook the pasta over low heat.
Put the cooked and drained pasta in the frying pan with the sauce. (For every 100 g of pasta, use 200 ml of sauce.)
Just before the pasta is cooked, add about 30 to 40 ml of the pasta water to the sauce. (Keep the heat under the sauce very low so that it doesn't reduce.)
I added some grilled eggplant to the sauce here. When you are adding things to the sauce, put them in at this stage. (Personally I prefer a simple pasta with the sauce only.)
Add the cooked and drained pasta in Step 21 or Step 22, and raise the heat under the frying pan to low-medium. Mix to coat the pasta with the sauce.
Transfer the pasta to a serving plate and enjoy. Grate on some Parmesan cheese to taste.
The caramelized onions and grilled eggplant add depth to the sauce. You can barely tell that there are eggplants in the sauce.
You may think that there's a lot of work involved in prepping the ingredients for this sauce, but there actually isn't. You can make a large batch and freeze it.
The sauce can be used in many ways, not just with pasta. With just a little effort you can make a delicious Bolognese. Please give it a try...
Addendum about the grilled eggplant: Soak the eggplant in water to remove any bitterness. Put some garlic oil on a grill pan, and put on the eggplant. Season with salt and pepper.
When the eggplant has grill marks, brush the surface with more garlic oil and turn over. Salt and pepper the other side and continue grilling.
Recipe ID: 1088421 is a tomato-curry flavored Bolognese sauce. Please take a look at that too.
There's a carrot hater in our family so I didn't add any this time, but I do when I serve this to guests. The carrot is a must really.
Story Behind this Recipe
I use caramelized onions in curries and stews of course, but I also add it to grilled eggplant. It becomes a really nice 'hidden flavor'. I didn't upload this recipe since it seems like a lot of work, but I uploaded it this time for a friend who watches me making this all the time.
All the steps are really easy, but please be sure to simmer the sauce long enough. It will taste totally different, compared to just cooking it briefly.