Ragu Meat Sauce, Bolognese-Style

adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

free of gluten, soy, and options for dairy-free

from Gingerlemongirl.com, published on October 12, 2010

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, minced

1 carrot, peeled and minced

1 celery stalk, minced

1/4 cup minced bacon

1/2 pound lean ground pork (or use all beef)

1/2 pound lean ground beef

1 cup dry white wine (or reserved juice from the canned tomatoes)

1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes, drained (reserve juice, if needed instead of wine)

1 cup beef or chicken stock, preferably homemade

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 cup cream, half-and-half, or milk (We just left this out altogether and added an additional cup of tomato juice to the sauce)

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

Dust off your favorite cast iron dutch oven. Add the olive oil to the pan and allow it to get hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Add the minced bacon, onions, carrots, celery (and garlic if you live in my family). Saute for about 5-8 minutes or until the bacon has rendered fat in the pan and the onions are beginning to brown. Add the ground beef and ground pork (we used all beef) and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes until the meat has browned through and there is no pink showing. While the beef is cooking, using a wooden spatula break up the meat so it is in very small pieces. Once the meat has browned add the crushed tomatoes and white wine or reserved tomato juice and the beef stock. Turn the heat to very low and allow the sauce to simmer for at least 2 hours and if you have time... let that sauce simmer for 4-5 hours. The sauce will have a much deeper flavor if it's allowed to simmer for 3-4 hours. If you're using cream, milk, or half and half, swirl it into the sauce right before serving and allow it to heat through. Serve the sauce over pasta, rice, raw zucchini noodles, on top of french bread for "manwiches" etc... just eat this stuff up and enjoy every bit of it! :-)  Serve with shaved parmesan on top if you’d like, or if you’re dairy free sprinkle on some blanched almond flour! You’ll be amazed as how much it tastes like finely grated parmesan!

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