Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's All About the Sauce: Lasagna with Homeade Bolognese

I may have said this before, once or twice, but I love spending a cool Sunday cooking away in my warm kitchen. The last time my mama came to visit, she brought down some tomatoes from her garden. We didn't get to use them right away so we froze them so I could use them later on. Later on happened to be this past Sunday for a delish Sunday supper at the farmhouse.

Now, it's not hard to make your own sauce but perfecting can be tough. I do feel though, that it's important for every modern housewife to have a great tomato sauce recipe and to be able to make it well. I stumbled upon this recipe a couple years ago and have made it a few times but I've found that it is best with lasagna. It's ok with spaghetti but for some reason, when I use it in lasagna it's so much better. I think it could be adapted to be great with spaghetti with the addition of some fresh herbs such as basil, parsley, and oregano.

A couple quick tips for making great bolognese:
1. Mix up your meat! I use ground beef and ground pork and the pork really adds a little something extra to the flavor.
2. Simma down now! The longer you simmer the better. This recipe calls for simmering for 1 hour but I use that as a minimum. I simmered almost 2 hours this time around which was perfect.
3. I've found a lot of recipes that use sugar, which I think the sweetness is a definite must, but what I like about this recipe is that instead of sugar it calls for carrots and red onion which gives it sweetness without that sugary sweet flavor.


3 tbsp olive oil
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1/3 lb ground beef
1/4 lb ground pork
2 cups canned peeled whole tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add carrot, celery, onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add beef and pork and cook stirring occasionally until meat is browned, 15-20 minutes. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, and 1/4 cup water. Season w/ salt and pepper. Cook covered over low heat, stirring occasionally for a minimum of one hour.


1/2 box of lasagna noodles (about 10 noodles)
1 15 oz container ricotta cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 eggs lightly beaten
fresh herbs such as parsley and basil, about 1 tbsp

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook noodles according to package instructions, drain and toss with a little olive oil to help separate noodles. In a large bowl, combine ricotta cheese, 3 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, parmesan, eggs, and fresh herbs. Spray 13x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Cover bottom of baking dish with a thin layer of the bolognese. Layer 3 to 4 of the noodles over the sauce, slightly overlapping. Spread half of cheese mixture over noodles and cover with about half of the remaining sauce. Repeat layers. Cover last layer with remaining noodles and remaining bolognese. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes until cheese is lightly golden brown. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.

Bolognese recipe adapted from Martha


  1. Mmmmm....Matt loves a good bolognese sauce, I'll definitely be trying this one! Hope you're enjoying your time with the Mama!! xo

  2. This is like our all time favorite dinner at home! My kids including my 3-year old twin boys really love it. And they don't mind eating veggies as long as it's in their lasagna, lol! Last night, we all enjoyed a spinach and mushroom lasagna! I can't wait to try adding other veggies the next time, lol!