Sunday Bolognese (Primal, Gluten-Free)
I am FINALLY posting my most-teased recipe of all time. I’ve been posting #sundaybolo posts on Instagram stories for years and while I’ve shared the recipe with friends and family, I’ve never shared it here.
Before I dive in to the recipe, let me take a step back and say hello! How are you? I haven’t blogged in several weeks because I was mad-writing a cookbook! It all came about rather quickly – I was approached by a publisher to write a cookbook called Paleo in 30 Minutes – and I decided to go for it. Because I wasn’t doing the photography, I turned the manuscript around very quickly but it meant total immersion to pull it off.
But I’m done and back up for air! And I’m so excited to start telling you about the book. There will be familiar favorites from Fresh Tart and Project Vibrancy Meals meal plans, but I came up with many new recipes as well – and all of them take 30 minutes or less to pull off. My goal was to squeeze as much flavor out of 30 minutes as possible, to bust you out of boring ruts and keep you excited about making and eating healthy food.
I created a sign up here for those of you who would like preview recipes and to be notified of publication and events surrounding Paleo in 30 Minute’s release in Spring 2020. To stay in the loop, click here.
So, back to the bolo. The #sundaybolo routine began a few years ago when my friend Erik Eastman and I started playing with making bolognese on winter Sundays. I have to confess I don’t remember what recipe we started with for inspiration, but it almost doesn’t matter because we changed it so much over time.
We tweaked the proteins; the amounts of cream, broth, and wine; the length of simmering; the type of tomatoes; and how much fennel seed and nutmeg (or mace, Erik prefers mace) is the just-right amount (it matters quite a lot).
What we finally settled on is one of the tenderest, richest, meatiest, most decadently delicious things I’ve ever made and I crave it as soon as the temperatures drop. I asked his permission to share the recipe here and he agreed – it’s too good to not share.
In the pictures, I’ve served it with Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi. It’s a terrific product, much lower-carb and -calorie than traditional gnocchi and grain-free to boot. I give directions for roasting the gnocchi (do not boil this gnocchi, the results are terrible).
The beauty of this bolo, though, is that it is good with damn near anything. Erik and I quite often enjoyed it with Chef Francis Mallman’s famous potato dominoes. That’s a hella rich combination but oh, it’s really amazing. Gluten-free spaghetti is an obvious choice. I personally love it with roasted cauliflower, or a combo of roasted cauliflower and cauliflower gnocchi. All choices are winners. Play with it and find your own favorite!
Tag your creations #sundaybolo on Instagram. Stephanie March is a big fan, she’s shared the recipe on her recipe account @what2cook4when. And my son, Nathan, and his girlfriend, Samantha, love it too.
I hope you love it as much as we all do!
Note: Plan 3 hours to cook the sauce. You could make this dairy-free and it will still be amazing. But if you can eat dairy, the cream is so lovely. I’m not sure I’d attempt this with a dairy-free cream because you simmer the cream away. You could perhaps try stirring a bit of cashew cream in at the end if you really need a hint of creaminess. If you do, please leave a comment and let us know how it is!
For the sauce:
2 large carrots, peeled
2 celery ribs
3 cloves garlic
1 large onion
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound spicy pork sausage (I use hot Italian)
1 pound ground chicken
1/2 teaspoon mace or nutmeg
2 teaspoons crushed fennel seeds
1 cup cream
1 cup rich beef or chicken stock
2 1/2 cups light red wine (Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Barbera or other non-tannic variety)
1 cup tomato purée (or tomato sauce)
1 cup crushed tomatoes
Pinch chile flakes
Flaky salt (like Maldon)
Freshly ground black pepper
8 servings of al dente pasta or cauliflower gnocchi (see note below)
Prepare the soffritto. Finely chop carrots, celery, garlic, and onion in a food processor. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add vegetables, a generous pinch of salt, and turn heat to medium-low. Sauté slowly, without browning, for 30-40 minutes or until vegetables are very soft with concentrated flavor.
Add the meat. Add chicken and pork to vegetables, with the mace and fennel seeds, cooking slowly, breaking the meat up as it sautes, just until color is gone.
Add the cream. Add cream to pot and adjust heat so the cream simmers slowly. Stir frequently until cream is cooked away, continuing to break up meat to a very fine texture.
Add the broth. Add broth to pot and simmer slowly away, stirring frequently, like the cream. Repeat with wine, simmering slowly away.
Add the tomatoes. Add tomato purée (or sauce), crushed tomatoes, and pepper flakes to pan and simmer until tomatoes are reduced and sauce is very thick but not dry, about 20 minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve the bolognese. Serve sauce over hot fresh or dried pasta that’s been tossed with butter. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese, torn fresh basil leaves, more pepper, and flaky salt.
For cauliflower gnocchi:
8 cups frozen Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi
Spray extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven and prepare pan. Arrange 2 racks toward the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with oil.
Roast the gnocchi. Add 4 cups of gnocchi to each baking sheet and spread evenly. Spray gnocchi lightly with oil. Sprinkle with sea salt. Roast gnocchi for 20 minutes. Turn gnocchi pieces over and roast for another 10 minutes.