No! Don’t do it.
Don’t call it Bolognese.
We can’t, you see, because of these six things:
- No wine
- No dairy.
- No itsy bitsy chopped up celery or carrots.
- Too much tomato sauce.
- Only one meat variety.
- And we’re cooking it comparatively faster.
So there are plenty of reasons why we are forbidden from labeling this hearty meat sauce, “Bolognese”.
Also? I’m aware that finally in northern climates the temperatures are starting to break the 50 degree mark.
Most of you in that sort of spring would probably rather be shaving asparagus, or baking lemon meringue pie, or dusting off your outdoor grill.
I get it, but hang with me here for a minute – we can still break out the margaritas and Jimmy Buffett album this weekend.
Here I am, practically in the tropics, and I’m tossing things like meaty marinara at you.
It doesn’t make any sort of seasonal cooking sense except for this one little bit: school is still in session, and what we have here is a giant batch of hearty, filling sauce, which means dinner tonight → leftovers a few days later (Think hoagie rolls, piles of meat sauce, and lots of melty mozzarella cheese, hmmmm?).
Leftovers = one night of freebie weeknight sanity.
Meaty marinara might be a staple in houses everywhere (is it?), but the tweaks that make this one different?
No wine, no diary (forget that mountain of Parmesan on top), no sugar, and we’re building it from scratch instead of a jar in the grocery isle.
And for this reason – this is a very clean sauce. Even a paleo sauce. Or a Whole30 sauce. And it tastes just as homey and satisfying as a thick, simmery Bolognese – even though it’s not.
In fact, it originated around the time of our life altering 30 days of major diet overhaul, (and we’d eat it with slices of roasted eggplant, or cubes of sautéed zucchini and onion) and I’ve gone back to it over and over again since then, even though we’re not torturing ourselves anymore.
There are ways to make this into an all-day sauce. An annoyingly intricate sauce. A sauce that requires three meats, more diced veggies, and minced, fresh herbs. I have an inkling you and I both might be pretty good at overcomplicating things that are just fine the way they already are.
But this is how we do it when we need dinner now. When we don’t have time to puree veggies (to smooth things out for picky palates). When I don’t want to have to clean the blender AND the sauce pot. When I want to buy the cute little squares of organic ground beef from Costco and not fret over whether or not I have some sort of pork to add as well. We could use fresh herbs, but not tonight. Tonight we need to brown some meat, open a carton of pure tomatoes, saute some onions and dump in some dry spices that are always around to help us when we need them. Tonight is not about being complicated.
Tonight is about resting in something that’s good and easy and makes our house smell like home, and we’ll be happy about that – the good and easy weeknight meal that wraps us up in the cozy blanket of home.