I prefer the crunch of coarsely chopped carrots and celery in this gratifying sauce; however, you can mince them along with mincing the onion and garlic, if you like. Also, I chose to make it with ground beef chuck and ground Italian-seasoned turkey sausage, rather than bulk Italian sausage.
Not only will you love this flavorful sauce over your favorite pasta, you'll find it's terrific over meatballs too! For those times when family members are on different schedules, or for a buffet party, you can just keep it warm in the slow cooker!
Dinner's In The Slow Cooker...
Just Grab a Plate!
As adapted from Let's Dish's recipe for Slow Cooker Bolognese Sauce
Serves approx. 6
- 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
- 1 lb ground beef chuck
- 1/2 lb. bulk Italian sausage (I used lean Italian-seasoned ground turkey)
- 1/2 c. medium chopped onion (frozen is fine)
- 1/2 c. coarsely chopped celery (approx. 1 large stalk)
- 1/2 peeled, coarsely chopped carrot (I used baby carrots)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/ea. 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 c. milk (I used 2%)
- 1/2 c. low-sodium beef broth
- 6 oz. can tomato paste
- 2 TB balsamic vinegar
- 1 1/2 tsp. table salt
- 1 tsp. dried basil leaves
- 1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
- 1/2 tsp. (scant) red pepper flakes
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds (optional...I didn't use)
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (or to taste)
- 1/2 c. ricotta cheese*
- Freshly chopped parsley
- Heat the olive oil in a medium to large saute pan over medium heat. Add the ground beef, Italian sausage, or ground turkey, and the chopped onion.* Cook until the meat is no longer pink (breaking up the meat with a fork as you go).
- Drain the meat and onion mixture and place in about a 4 qt. slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the ricotta cheese. Cover and cook on low for approximately 4 1/4 hours.
- Stir in the ricotta cheese just before serving.
- Serve over hot cooked pasta. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley.
- Store leftover sauce in the refrigerator up to 4 days. Freezes well up to 3 months.
- You can saute the meat with the onion and prep the vegetables the day before if it helps.
- Mascarpone cheese may be substituted for the ricotta cheese, if you prefer. (Danelle at Let's Dish suggested that's it's a wonderful alternative...sounds great to me, though I've not tried it yet.)
Enjoy this warmly satisfying sauce over your favorite pasta with a good salad and crusty bread!