By the time kids get to grade 3 there are (for the most part) quite proficient readers. Unfortunately, they still take almost everything literally.
The other day in gym class, at two separate times, 2 students came to me and showed me the ball they were working with.
And both of them asked me the same question:
“Is this really elephant skin?”
This crockpot bolognese is one of the best pasta sauces I have ever made. Warning- it is a bit time consuming. You cannot just dump everything in your crockpot, but you will be rewarded with a creamy, flavorful sauce for all your effort!
Here is what you will need to make this delicious sauce:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 medium carrot
- 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 package of ground beef
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 teaspoon fresh thyme)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (or 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup white or red wine (I used red)
- 2 (28-ounce) cans of whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
I started by finely dicing up my onion, celery and carrots and sauteing them in some canola oil until they were soft. (Actually, I let my ninja blender dice up the veggies…way easier and faster!)
Then I added the garlic and tomato paste and let that cook another minute or so.
Next, because I have a large skillet that can fit both the veggies and the meat, I added in the ground beef and broke it up nice and fine and cooked it till it was no longer pink.
You can, at this point, try to strain off any excess fat before making the actual sauce.
Then stir in the salt, thyme, oregano, pepper and nutmeg.
To the whole mixture, add 1 cup of milk and bring it up to a rapid boil. You want to cook this mixture until almost all the milk is gone.(between 5-10 minutes)
Then repeat with 1 cup of wine.
Move the meat mixture to the crockpot and add in 2 drained cans of whole tomatoes (save some of the liquid…you may need it).
Squish the tomatoes with a fork (you may want safety goggles and a splash guard for this) and mix everything together.
Add a bay leaf (I like to add 2 for good measure) and cook on low for 6-8 hours. (I let mine cook all day…)
Near the end of the cooking time, check your sauce. If the sauce looks too dry, add some reserved tomato liquid and let it cook a little more. If it looks too wet, take the lid off and cook on high a little bit until some of the liquid evaporates.
The verdict- this sauce is a lot of work, but it is so delicious! It makes enough that we can eat it for a few days, so I guess all that work is worth it.