It’s here! It’s here! Fall has finally arrived! OK, I know that the first “official” day of fall was last week but it was still hot as hell here until yesterday.

To celebrate the cooler weather, I whipped up some sugo. I can’t really think of a better way to herald in the new season than with a bowl full of pasta and meat sauce, since it’s not exactly a dish you want to dig into when it’s 95 degrees out. Give me weather below 75 and I’m gonna bust out the comfort food. I can’t help it.

I don’t really have one recipe for it, since I change it up based on how much effort I want to put into it, how much shopping I want to do and how many extra ingredients I want to have leftover. Sometimes I add carrots and celery, then there’s one with rosemary and other herbs. Here’s one version, the simplest one:

Sugo #1

Hot Italian sausage, out of the casing
Meatloaf mix (combination of ground pork, beef and veal)
Onion, chopped
Garlic, minced
Red wine

Brown the meats over medium-high heat with just a drizzle of oil to get it going. Once you drop the meat into the pan, leave it for a few minutes – RESIST THE TEMPATION TO STIR. Instead of just “graying” the meat, you want it to brown/caramelize. Those brown bits at the bottom of the pan that makes it so difficult to clean? That’s what you’re going for. Be sure to control the heat, you don’t want them to burn.

Add the onions when the meat is just starting to turn color from pink, then the garlic when it starts to get nice and brown. Deglaze the pan with the red wine.

Since the bottle’s already open, pour yourself a glass! It doesn’t matter what time it is, you’re cooking. Normal drinking rules don’t apply.

When the wine has pretty much cooked off, add the marinara. Let it simmer for a while. I think I had my batch on for a few hours with the lid on. I just kept forgetting to turn it off!

Tip: When I buy grated Parmigiano, I always ask the guy for the rinds (which he gives me for free and usually he dumps a ton of them in a bag. I doubt he gets a lot of requests for them besides little old Italian grandmothers and me.). Adding them to a simmering meat sauce adds lots of flavor. Just throw them in and they’ll melt into the sauce.

bolognese pasta

Happy Cooking!


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