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Well kids, is a cold snowy day here in the Pacific Northwest. Perfect for cooking something in the crockpot. Have any of you ever made a recipe from the booklet that came with your crockpot? I never had. What is below is a variation from the recipe in my CrockPot insert.

This recipe required about 20 minutes of prep, lots of chopping and so on, but it was well worth it. It made a bucket of sauce. No joking, Kirk and I had 8 bowls over two nights, the girls both have some and I now have  sizable amount frozen. If you need something to make for a large crowd, this is your recipe.

And now, a word on wine. If you are my Facebook friend (all lucky 183 of you) you know that I love wine. I hate spending tons of money on it, unless someone else is paying. Wine does not have to be expensive to be good. For example, I bought a bottle of Sutter Home on clearance at Safeway for this recipe. I tasted it first of course, yes, I had a sip at 11:00 a.m. go ahead, call the cops. It was good! I’ve also gotten some really tasty stuff  for $2.99 at the Base Exchange. My point is, you never know how it’s going to taste until you open the bottle, but don’t be afraid to try the less expensive stuff. You can find some real gems.

ps. Try Crockin Girls, 365 days of slow cooking, or just go to Pinterest and search crock pot recipes for lots of great crock pot ideas.

Crock Pot Bolognese

  • 2 lbs lean ground beef (93% or 95% if you can get it) NOTE: The crock pot recipe book calls for 3/4 lbs ground beef, 1/2 lbs ground veal, 1/2 lbs ground pork. You do what makes you happy
  • 4 oz. pancetta, or 3 strips of center cut bacon, diced
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, minced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or put through garlic press
  • 1/2 cup white wine (or red! go crazy!)
  • 2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes. If you can afford it, spring for San Marzano or something a little more expensive. It’s worth it in taste.
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • A box of your favorite noodles
  • salt, pepper, parsley
  1. In large skillet, cook pancetta or bacon over medium low heat until it’s released most of it’s fat. Add a little olive oil if you need it to saute veggies. Add onion, carrot and celery, cook 4-5 minutes or until onion has softened. Add the ground beef and cook 10-12 minutes until beef is browned. Pour off any excess liquid.
  2. Add tomato paste and garlic and cook 1-2 minutes until it has melted into the meat mixture (I didn’t have any tomato paste, and the sauce was definitely missing it, I recommend you use it). Add the wine, bring mixture to a simmer and cook 2-4 more minutes, until wine has reduced a little.
  3. Add meat mixture, tomatoes and a healthy dose of salt and pepper to crock pot. Cook on low for 6 hours. If you don’t have 6 hours, cook on high for one hour and then low for the rest of the time you have.
  4. Right before serving, stir in half and half and re-season with salt, pepper, crushed red pepper if desired. Garnish bowl with parsley.

    Obviously this many veggies makes up for the bacon I'm cooking it in, right?

    Raw meat, I know, gross. I learned this from Rachel Ray though, use your potato masher to break up the meat into little pieces. It takes half the time of using a spatula or spoon. Damn you Rachel Ray, for being so inventive when I really want to hate you!

    If you like it garlicky, add more! For heaven's sake, there aren't any kitchen police!

    El Fin. We used big rigatoni noodles the first night and rotini the second. Oddly, the sauce tasted the same . . . delicious!!!