This sauce has two mommies.We spent a recent weekend in the company of our parents and it was a really lovely time. My mom wanted to make a bolognese sauce for dinner with Phil's mom, and who can say no to that? The two of them puttered around the kitchen--Phil's mom taking notes and my mom scooting around doing everything at top speed, as usual. I got stuck prepping ingredients/doing dishes, and tried to grab a few pictures along the way. This sauce uses a combination of 1/2 pound baby back pork ribs and 1 pound ground sirloin. My mom was really pleased with the way the meats turned out together for the sauce--it isn't too heavy but does develop a nice, deep flavor from the bones. Start by seasoning the ribs with salt and pepper...Then brown them in a tablespoon of olive oil, along with a handful of chopped onion (you'll need about 1/2 a chopped onion, in total, by the way--you'll be adding some to the ground beef as it browns as well).She browns the two meats in separate pans. I cut corners here and do it all together--don't be like me. Be like my mom. (But it makes extra dishes.)Over in a big sauce pot, she crumbles in the ground sirloin, and browns it with a tablespoon or so of olive oil and the rest of the chopped onion.We are a short people.When the meats are browned, add about 1/4 cup of red wine to each pan to loosen up all the good fond.And make sure to do the pork ribs too. Here they are, sizzling in the wine she just poured in. They will get loose and a little bit saucy right away.Now you can just pour everything from the rib pan into the big pot along with the rest of the meat and take it from there. Now you add a 28-oz can of tomatoes to the pan--but use whole tomatoes and puree them smooth before adding to the sauce. I just stuck my immersion blender right into the open can and whizzed them smooth. You can also use a regular blender or just squish them up with your hands in a bowl. Any way you do it, just get your whole tomatoes in smooth form, then pour them in.And then add about 1/4 can's worth of water as well.The most important is to taste as you go along. You add just a little salt at a time as you go along.And add in 2 bay leaves.And grind in pepper, as needed. Taste, taste, taste.Here's where things get a little Sicilian. Jocelyn gave me this lovely little container, made of cinnamon bark...Turns out it holds cinnamon sticks perfectly. Makes sense, right? You add 1/2 of one cinnamon stick to the sauce, along with 1 teaspoon sugar. And let simmer all together for one hour.Cover it to keep from over-reducing as it simmers.And taste. Taste, taste, taste.My mom brought her own pasta with her, packed in her carry-on. That's commitment, right there. Any nice big pasta will do fine here though--this isn't a sauce for thin noodles. Boil in plenty of salted water until al dente.Your sauce should be looking and smelling wonderful right about now, with the pork ribs just falling off the bone. Our next-door-neighbors said they could smell it all the way down the block.Allora, è finito. Enjoy this fabulous sauce with some fresh grated parmesan at the table.And, lest you think only moms rock the kitchen, here's evidence that my father is no slouch either: he made us some fresh baked bread in time for dinnerHe uses the no-knead dough recipe that I have made here before...but his turns out better, of course.
(many thanks to Emily, for thinking of the idea for this post and reminding me to take pictures of the moms cooking!)