Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bolognese Sauce

Tomatoes are a great source of antioxidants and nutrient-rich when it comes to lycopene, an important necessity for bone health. As we age, this becomes an important factor to reduce our risks of osteoporosis. There are so many ways to enjoy tomatoes and the great news is that any source is a good source!

One of my favorite Italian dishes is spaghetti with meat sauce and I especially love the complex flavors of Bolognese sauce, which incorporates wine (um, yum?) and a light creamy finish using either heavy cream or half & half. Bolognese is simply an Italian meat sauce that originated in the Bologna region of Italy.

The typical Bolognese can sometimes have a large amount of calories especially when incorporating heavy cream. I remade this recipe using lean ground beef and fat free half & half – SO delicious, just a hint of creaminess, and now definitely my go-to sauce!

3 oz pancetta, chopped (or use bacon)
½ T butter
½ small onion, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
½ cup carrots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb 95% lean ground beef
½ cup white wine (you can also use red which deepens the flavor even more)
1 - 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
½ bay leaf
salt and fresh pepper
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup fat free half & half
(This is another great way to incorporate flax seed meal; throw a few tablespoons into your sauce!)

I used my crock pot but you can cook it on your stove top. If using your stove top, you really want the flavors to incorporate so it needs at least a few hours to simmer.

In a nonstick cooking pan, sauté the pancetta over med/high heat, just until the fat starts to melt…about 2 minutes tops, you don’t want it to get crispy. Add the butter, onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes until the veggies are tender. Add the wine to deglaze the pan and then to the same pan, add the ground beef breaking it up and cooking until no longer pink. Remove from stove top and add to crock pot.

To the mixture, add the tomatoes, bay leaf, basil, oregano and parsley (do not add the half & half yet). Cook on low heat 4 hours or longer if you have the time.

With 20 minutes left, add the half and half and stir.

Serve it over your favorite pasta. Enjoy!

Serves 8; ½ cup servings: 177 calories

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