Anne Burrell's Bolognese Recipe

In the United States, spaghetti Bolognese generally refers to any type of spaghetti with a hearty tomato-meat sauce. In Italy, however, there really isn't any such dish, although Italian website The Local reports that the Italian Academy of Cuisine at the Bologna Chamber of Commerce adopted an "official" version in 1982 that contains both milk and bacon.

Well, Anne Burrell's Bolognese (via Food Network) isn't anywhere near as "authentic" as that, as it's something any American would recognize as Bolognese, i.e. one with plenty of ground beef and tomatoes. It also contains one other ingredient in abundance — a rather shocking amount (3 cups!) of red wine. Our recipe developer Miriam Hahn describes Burrell's Bolognese as having "plenty of flavor ... really thick and hearty." She tells us she kept the recipe exactly as Burrell prepares it, wine and all, with just one tweak that makes this delicious dish available to a wider audience.

You'll need these ingredients to make this Bolognese

Before you make this Burrell-esque Bolognese, you'll probably need to start off by visiting the grocery store produce section. You're going to need a yellow onion (a big one), some celery, some carrots, a few cloves of garlic, and a nice mixture of fresh mushrooms -– Hahn used baby bellas, oyster mushrooms, and shiitakes and tells us "I like to use a combination of several types of mushrooms, specifically oyster, because they are very meaty. "

While you're in the produce section, try to find a bunch of fresh thyme too, if you can. (In a pinch, dried may need to do, but fresh is always best.) You're also going to need bay leaves, extra-virgin olive oil, kosher salt, quite a bit of tomato paste, and yes, a whole bunch of red wine. Also spaghetti, of course, plus some Parmigiano-Reggiano and maybe some fresh basil for serving.

Prepare the vegetables for the Bolognese sauce

You're going to begin the Bolognese by chopping the onion and the celery into 1-inch pieces, the carrots, into half-inch pieces, and the garlic just rough-chopped. Add the chopped veggies to a food processor and puree them into a thick, coarse paste. Coat the bottom of a large sauté pan or a stock pot with olive oil and add the pureed vegetable mix. Add the salt to the veggies, then bring the pan up to a medium-high heat. Cook the veggies for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

While the veggies are cooking, you can (in between stirs) put the mushrooms in the food processor and pulse them until they appear to be crumbled. Once you've cooked the veggies for at least 15 minutes, add in the mushrooms and cook the mix for another 10 minutes.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the sauce

Now it's time to add the tomato paste. My, what a lot of tomato paste. Why so much tomato paste, but none of Anne Burrel's favorite canned tomatoes? Hahn explains that Burrell uses tomato paste because it's "substantial and adds to the richness." Cook the tomato paste for 4 to 5 minutes, then add the wine. So much wine. Burrell doesn't say whether she went ahead and drank the little bit left in the bottle, and we didn't ask Hahn what she did with her leftovers. If you want to go ahead and polish off the bottle, your secret is safe with us, too.

Anyway, once the wine is in the pot (and perhaps in your glass), simmer the sauce for 4 to 5 minutes until the wine has reduced by half. Then add one cup of water to the pan along with the thyme and bay leaves. Bring the sauce to a boil, then let it simmer for 3 ½ to 4 hours, stirring occasionally. As the liquid evaporates, you may need to add an additional ½ cup of water to the sauce.

Add in the pasta

Half an hour before you plan to serve the Bolognese sauce, cook the pasta according to the package directions, but cook it for one minute less than the directions call for. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water. While the pasta is cooking, remove half of the Bolognese sauce from the pan and set it aside. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add to the pot with the remaining sauce. Add the reserved cooking water to the pasta/sauce mixture and cook the pasta in the sauce over medium heat until any extra liquid is reduced. If needed, add in some of the reserved sauce so you have a mixture that's about 50/50 pasta and sauce.

When the excess water has all cooked off, turn off the heat and add in the Parmesan along with a drizzle of olive oil. Toss the pasta, then serve it with the additional Bolognese sauce and extra Parmesan cheese on the side. If you like, you can pretty up the plate with some chopped fresh basil.

So what was the twist?

When Hahn came up with the idea of this spin-off on Burrell's Bolognese, she told us "the twist would be swapping the meat for mushrooms and making a hearty mushroom Bolognese sauce." The reason why she chose to make this swap is because, as she tells us, "I actually used to love Bolognese meat sauces years ago but I eat primarily plant-based now," adding that "mushrooms add a meaty texture and a very savory taste ... [but] dicing them is key."

If you cook this recipe exactly as it's given here, it is vegetarian since it contains no meat. If you want to go all the way and make it vegan, though, all you'll need to do is either skip the Parmesan or use a non-dairy Parmesan cheese substitute. Hahn tells us "my favorite is Follow Your Heart [brand]." Another good vegan cheese substitute she recommends is nutritional yeast, an ingredient that she says has a "cheesy flavor and tons of B vitamins."

Anne Burrell's Bolognese Recipe
5 from 30 ratings
Miriam Hahn followed Anne Burrell's Bolognese recipe, wine and all, with just one tweak that makes this delicious dish available to a wider audience.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
4
hours
Servings
6
Servings
Bowl of spaghetti Bolognese
Total time: 4.17 hours
Ingredients
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 large carrots or 3 small ones, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • Virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 6 to 7 cups mixed mushrooms
  • 2 cups tomato paste
  • 3 cups hearty red wine
  • 1 bunch thyme, tied in a bundle (can substitute 2 tablespoons dried)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Optional Ingredients
  • Fresh basil
Directions
  1. Chop the onions and the celery into 1-inch pieces and the carrots into ½-inch pieces. Roughly chop the garlic.
  2. Puree the vegetables in a food processor
  3. Coat the bottom of a large saute pan or stockpot with oil and add the pureed vegetables, seasoning generously with salt.
  4. Bring the pan of vegetable puree to medium-high heat and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently
  5. Pulse the mushrooms in the food processor until they appear crumbled. Add the mushrooms to the pan and cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Add the tomato paste to the vegetables and cook for 4 to 5 minutes.
  7. Add the red wine to the pan and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until about ½ of the wine has reduced.
  8. Add one cup of water to the pan along with the thyme and bay leaves.
  9. Bring the sauce to a boil, then simmer, stirring occasionally, for 3 ½- 4 hours. As the liquid evaporates, you may need to add an additional ½ cup water.
  10. 30 minutes before the sauce is done, cook the pasta according to the package directions, but cook it for 1 less minute than the directions call for. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking water.
  11. While the pasta is cooking, remove ½ of the sauce from the pan and set aside.
  12. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add to the pot with the remaining sauce.
  13. Add the reserved cooking water and cook the pasta in the sauce over medium heat until any extra liquid is reduced. (Add reserved sauce as needed. )
  14. Turn off heat and add Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil to the pasta. Toss and serve with additional sauce on the side.
  15. Top with fresh basil if desired.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 601
Total Fat 11.2 g
Saturated Fat 3.3 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 8.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 85.8 g
Dietary Fiber 8.7 g
Total Sugars 17.6 g
Sodium 1,044.8 mg
Protein 21.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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