Mix up a classic bolognese recipe by adding spicy Italian Sausage in place of beef! A hearty red wine sauce with a vegetable base pairs perfectly with a pile of al dente spaghetti.
Bolognese is SO. COOL.
It’s just a sweet, flavor-packed spaghetti sauce – but the base of the sauce is made from hearty root vegetables. And WINE.
Could this BE any awesome-er? (I may have been compulsively watching Friends all week. Whatever. It’s only the best show in the history of forever).
Answer: No. It could not be any awesome-er.
Traditional bolognese is made with beef, but I swapped that out for italian sausage to add a bit of a kick to the sauce. I also set aside a few hours one afternoon to really let the sauce and its flavors develop – you can rush this process a little bit, but this definitely isn’t a five-minute pasta sauce. It takes some lovin’ and some time. PERFECT for cloudy afternoons spent dreading impending snowstorms and watching a whole season of Friends.
Italian Sausage Bolognese
An easy Italian Sausage Bolognese perfect for chilly evenings.
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 3 hours
- Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4-6
- 2 large carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1/2 of a large yellow onion
- 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb. Italian sausage
- 2 cups hearty red wine (Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, or Syrahs work well)
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- 2-4 cups water (you may not need it all)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 lb. pasta (I used spaghetti)
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese, for garnishing (optional)
- In a food processor, puree carrots, celery, garlic, and onion until they form a thick paste.
- In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add vegetable puree, salt and pepper. Saute until veggies are cooked and browned, about 10 minutes. You’ll deglaze the pan later, so don’t be afraid if the veggies stick a bit.
- Add Italian sausage to the pan. Break it apart with a spoon or spatula as you cook it and saute until meat is browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes.
- Add tomato paste to the pan. Stir to incorporate the paste with the other ingredients and cook 1 minute.
- Add 1/2 cup of the red wine and stir to break up any clumps of meat and veggies. Add the remaining red wine and bay leaves and bring to a simmer.
- Cook until red wine has reduced by half, about 10-15 minutes.
- Add 1 cup of the water. Bring back to a low simmer and cook until water has reduced by half, about 15-20 minutes. Repeat, adding 1 cup of water and reducing, until you are ready to eat. This is where the flavor really builds – keep adding water and reducing as needed! This is also the right time to add additional seasoning. When you’re ready to eat, reduce the sauce one final time until it reaches your desired consistency.
- Cook pasta according to package or recipe directions until 1 minute less than al dente. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
- Add reserved pasta water to sauce and mix to incorporate. Top pasta with bolognese sauce and shredded parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
To prevent pasta from sticking, toss cooked pasta with a scoop or two of bolognese sauce before plating, and then top with sauce and serve.
Top pasta with fresh basil if you like.
Use beef in place of Italian sausage if you like.
Adapted from Anne Burrell