March 14, 2011
After last Thursday and then nervously putting the Hungry Boy on a plane on Friday, I needed serious comfort food this weekend. And what’s more comforting than a hearty meat ragu? Nothing. At least that’s what became clear this weekend.
The Hungry Boy was feeling fine when I brought him to the airport, but it had only been a few hours after a difficult, feverish night. I should have known that he wasn’t fully better, but our doctor said that the antibiotics work quickly. I was hopeful and didn’t want to disappoint the Hungry Boy or grandma and grandpa. He took off and, though I shed a few wimpy tears (c’mon, he’s only 4!), I was feeling good. Until that evening, when I heard that he still had a fever and — gulp — he got on the phone whispering, “Mama, I want you.”
All turned out okay. Despite another rough night and a sluggish Saturday, the Hungry Boy’s body mended. He was even able to pack in an entire weekend’s worth of fun into Sunday (mini-golf, boat ride and beach, oh my!). But it was hard being away from him. Plus, it was colder here in NYC than I wanted it to be and being with just the Hungry Baby made the Hungry Papa and I laazzzyyy. (Taking care of one child when you’re used to two is almost as relaxing as kicking your feet up and eating bonbons all day! Well… almost.)
Tell me you wouldn’t want to make a slow cooked ragu under these circumstance?!
I’ve only had bolognese made with beef, sometimes with a little pancetta added, but I only had sweet italian sausage on hand. I momentarily considered running to the butcher until I came to my senses. Sausage bolognese is the move, my friends. It’s totally delicious and, thanks to the salty pork fat and fennel in the sausage, it’s full of flavor even when made with just a few basic ingredients.
The house smelled delicious. We cozied up with our baby, checked in on our big boy as often as possible, and ate well. It was hard being away from the Hungry Boy, especially when he wasn’t feeling 100% but, all in all, it was a good weekend. That’s what a big, steaming bowl of sausage bolognese will do.
This sauce is perfect over pasta or you can try something new and pour it over soft polenta served with roasted peppers—a new take on Sausage and Peppers. Look—delish!
makes enough for about 1 lb of pasta
(can be shared with kids 6+ mos)*
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 lb sweet italian sausage
1/4 c chicken broth
1/4 c white wine (you can substitute chicken broth)
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1. Put oil and garlic in a large dutch oven over medium heat. As soon as the oil is hot and the garlic begins to sizzle, add the sausage.
2. Cook the sausage, breaking the meat up into small bits with a fork, until it is cooked through and just beginning to brown in spots. Add wine and/or broth.
3. Turn heat to medium-high and cook for about 5 minutes until 3/4 of the liquid (ie, most, but not all of it) cooks off. Add tomato sauce. Fill the sauce can with water and add that, too. If you do not have time to slow cook the sauce, add less. The less water you add, the less time you’ll need to cook the sauce.
4. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for about an hour and a half. Then uncover and simmer for another 15 minutes or so, until desired consistency (which depends on what you’re serving this with; I kept this pretty saucy since I served it over polenta). Skim some of the fat, add pepper (I found that it was salty enough from the sausage; you can add more if you want) and serve.
*Note: Though there is no reason not to share this with children 6+ mos already eating meat, keep in mind that sausage can be fatty and salty. Just a little bit will go a long way for early eaters! And always be sure to puree or chop into age-appropriate bite sizes.