Quick Bolognese Sauce
by Kyle Mendenhall, Culinary Director of Big Red F
Big Red F is a restaurant group that runs some of Colorado’s favorite joints such as Lola Coastal Mexican, the Post Brewing Co. locations, and Jax Fish House restaurants. Chef Kyle Mendenhall oversees all these spots and deals a lot with menu research and development. In other words, recipes are his thing and this simple meat sauce is one he shared with us. Use any ground meat, pork, beef or lamb, and then pair it with your favorite pasta, spaghetti squash or bowl of mixed grains.
1 lb of ground meat
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds
1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 small can tomato paste
2 15-ounce cans diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup chicken liver, diced
1 cup heavy cream*
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup chives, chopped
1. In a 4-quart, heavy-bottomed pot, heat the olive oil on med-high. Add onions, celery, mushrooms, carrots, garlic and chicken liver (optional). Cook for about 5 minutes until onions become tender.
2. Add ground meat, being sure to break it up as much as possible. You want the meat to be in small pieces. Cook an additional 5 minutes.
3. Add bay leaves, black pepper, salt, fennel seeds and pepper flakes. Sweat all the ingredients together for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Add the tomato paste and mix in well. Cook for 5 minutes.
5. Add diced tomatoes and stock. Reduce heat to med-low and cook for at least 20 minutes. The longer the sauce cooks at this stage the better it will be. Add a cup or two of water if the sauce reduces too much, or sticks to the bottom of the pot.
6. Serve over pasta** or any base you desire, topping with grated Parmesan and/or chopped chives.
* The chef often adds a cup of heavy cream to the sauce just a few mins before it’s done. “Makes for a more rich sauce and coats the pasta well,” he says.
** If you would like to eat the sauce when it’s hot, cook 1 pound of pasta al dente, strain it and let it finish cooking in the meat sauce.