This slow-cooked Italian-style beef bolognese is so packed full of flavor, you’ll think you’re eating in a fancy Italian restaurant! It’ll be our little secret how easy it was to make.
For today’s comfort-food delight I’m taking your tastebuds on a one-way trip to Italy. All expenses paid, no hidden fees. Pack your bags. We leave NOW.
All aboard the Italian-food train. We’re on our way to the Land of Beef Bologonese. A magical land where all your hopes and dreams can come true.
Which, by the way, is totally my dream vacation. Actually I’d just like to live and eat in Italy forever. The end.
Since I know that’s probably not gonna happen anytime in this lifetime of mine, I guess I’ll just have to settle with the fact that I now know the secret to eternal Italian food-happiness.
It’s called beef bolognese. The yin to every Italian-food lover’s yang. My new favorite happy place. Heck, just the name of it makes me SO hug-myself-happy.
The smell of it enchants and woos me. As all Italian food does.
The taste of it makes me swoon from content. And seriously question whether I’m sitting in a quaint little Italian restaurant in the heart of Italy or just chilling on the couch in my living room.
Since I haven’t won the lottery just yet, if you guessed that last statement, you’re right: I eat fancy-schmancy Italian food from the comfort of my couch in the comfort of my pajamas.
I can pull off the look though, guys. My family told me so.
This bolognese sauce is unbelievably rich, creamy, full of tender beef and loaded with DEEP Italian-flavors. The slow-cooker really works it’s magic here, guys. You won’t believe the flavors here. You really, really won’t.
The easiness and the simplicity and the BEST STUFF YOUR TASTEBUDS WILL TOUCH.
Do note that this recipe makes a HUGE batch of beef bolognese sauce and you can certainly halve the recipe if you’re cooking for smaller quantities. I usually only use about half of the sauce for one meal and then stash the other half in the freezer for a quickie dinner on a busy weeknight.
So can we talk about the purely amazing quality of this sauce? For one thing it cooks nearly ENTIRELY in the crockpot. No pre-browning of the beef beforehand! We’re just going to simply mash up the beef with some half-and-half cream and torn bread pieces to make a potent and then just crumble it into the crushed-tomato sauce in the crockpot. Cooking the beef entirely in the tomato sauce will ensure that the beef will cook up super-moist and tender.
Now you have a choice: You can switch that crockpot on to either high temperature and let it cook for 3-4 hours OR if today is a super-long day and you have hours to spare, you can go ahead and let the sauce cook on low temperature for 5-6 hours.
A few hours later your house should start to smell more or less like an Italian restaurant. And at this point you should start the pasta water for those noodles and break out the french bread and those fake french-mustaches because the best dinner of your LIFE is very quickly approaching.
Once the sauce is cooked, you might notice a few big clumps of cooked beef. Use a spoon to break up these clumps into bite-sized pieces and then throw a bunch of fresh minced basil and salt and pepper to taste into the sauce. This last step really brightens all the flavors of this sauce, guys.— Don’t skip it!
At this point, you should leave the kitchen now and go stock up on lettuce leaves unless you want to gain 10,000 pounds from tonight’s spaghetti dinner. This stuff is NO JOKE in the pig-out department!
I’ve gathered this fact just by watching my family. No personal experience, I PROMISE.
Watch out, Italy. My beef bolognese is better than yours. ♥
Slow-Cooked Beef Bolognese
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- 1 large onion finely diced
- 1 medium carrot minced
- 1/4 cup minced celery
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 cans 28 oz crushed tomatoes
- 2 slices day-old bread torn into pieces
- 1 cup half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1-1/2 lbs ground beef
- 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Hot pasta for serving
- In a small skillet over medium-high heat, brown onion, carrot, celery, and garlic in oil until veggies are browned. (about 5 minutes) Reduce heat to low and stir in tomato paste until combined. Slowly stir in red wine until mixture is smooth. Bring to a low simmer then remove from heat and transfer to a 3-qt crockpot. Stir in crushed tomatoes and set aside.
- Place torn bread slices in a large bowl and pour half-and-half over top. Mash with a potato masher until mixture forms a thick paste. Using hands, work in ground beef, salt, and pepper until combined.
- Crumble uncooked beef mixture over tomato mixture in crockpot, then gently stir sauce until combined. Cover crockpot and cook on high 3-4 hours OR on low 5-6 hours.
- Just before serving, use a spoon to break up meat into bite-sized chunks and stir basil into sauce. Season sauce with salt and pepper and serve hot with pasta.