20 February 2012

Polenta Bolognese

Though we haven't been having the coldest of winters, I still find myself craving yummy hearty winter dishes. For dinner last Friday, I decided to whip up one of my all-time favorite dishes - bolognese sauce from the Joy of Cooking. Traditionally, this dish is served over spaghetti, but I thought that it would be fun to try it over a bowl of freshly stewed polenta. Davanti Enoteca has something similar to this on their menu, and they prep it at the table, stirring the hot tomatoey sauce into the steaming creamy polenta on top of a wooden board.

I couldn't have been happier with the way this mean turned out, and was really proud of myself for coming up with a new take on a classic dish. The polenta came out perfect, mainly due to the amount of attention I spent stirring it - or maybe due to the addition of mascarpone and parmesan cheese right at the end. If you like Italian food, and classic homestyle meals, then try this sauce! It's good on everything, and gets better after sitting overnight in the fridge.

Buon Appetito!

polenta bolognese

Bolognese Pasta Sauce a la Joy of Cooking 

1 package dry mushrooms
1 cup butter
3/4 cup lean ham, bacon, or pancetta
3/4 cup chopped carrot
3/4 cup chopped onion
3 cups chopped lean beef
1 small can tomato paste
3 strips of lemon peel
a few pinches of nutmeg
3 cups beef stock
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1) Reconstitute the dried mushrooms in hot water. Bring water to a boil, then let the mushrooms stand for 20 minutes. Separate the mushrooms from the liquid, but be sure to save the liquid. Chop the mushrooms.
2) While the mushrooms are being reconstituted, chop the onion and carrot.
3) Melt the butter in a large pan, and sautee the carrot and onion until soft. Add the bacon.
4) Once the bacon, carrot, and onion are mixed and cooked, add the mushrooms and the beef. Turn the beef over until it begins to brown.
5) Once the beef is brown, add the mushroom liquid, the tomato paste, nutmeg, lemon peel, beef stock, and white wine.
6) Partially cover and simmer slowly for one hour.
7) After an hour, remove lemon peel, and just before serving, stir in the whipping cream.
8) Season with salt and pepper to taste.
9) Serve over pasta or polenta, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and enjoy!!
  sautee in butter mushrooms beef and veggies


  1. YUM! Pinning this for sure and going to try it stat.

  2. Yummmmm this looks sooo good-- I wish I hadn't left my Joy of Cooking book at home!