This Week In The Kitchen: Bolognese Sauce By Tank Garage Winery

Tank Garage Winery is one of the more unique tasting rooms in Calistoga, located in a former mechanic’s garage and gas station that dates back to the 1930’s.  The wines are also unique-always a blend but never the same blend twice! Tank also gives back on a regular basis and their Tank Cares wines donate to important causes such as the California Fire Foundation with Lovers, Dreamers, Fighters & Believers bottling and most recently,  This Too Shall Pass wine where all profits will be donated to the GlobalGiving Coronavirus Relief Fund.

The staff at Tank Garage is a pretty special group too, and evidently, one that loves to cook! The resident bolognese expert, Grace, recently shared the recipe for her go-to special sauce which also happens to be the perfect dinner companion for the “Somewhere Out On That Horizon” red blend. Whip up a batch and check out Tank’s terrific wines, good deeds and delicious dishes.

GRACE’S BOLOGNESE SAUCE, TANK GARAGE WINERY (Serves 8)

1 cup Onion, small dice
1/2 cup Carrot, small dice
2 Tbs Garlic, minced
3 Tbs Olive Oil
1 lb Ground Beef, 80/20 
1 lb Ground Pork 
1 cup Dry White Wine
6 oz Tomato Paste
1 Tbs fresh Oregano, minced 
1 Bay Leaf
4 cups Chicken Stock
Water, as needed
1/4 cup Butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1 lb dried or 2 lb fresh pasta (we’d recommend Tagliatelle, Papardelle, Campanelle or similar)

Dice onion and carrot into 1/4″ pieces and transfer to a small bowl. Mince garlic and set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Break beef into small clumps and season lightly with salt + pepper. Add beef to pan and cook until it’s lightly browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a medium bowl.

Wipe out skillet and repeat with the ground pork. After removing the cooked pork with a slotted spoon, add onion and carrot, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft and beginning to stick to surface, 6–8 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook over medium heat until soft, about 2-3 minutes. 

Add tomato paste, bay leaf, and oregano and cook, stirring occasionally until tomato paste has darkened to a brick color (about 5-10 minutes).

Return beef and pork to skillet and pour in wine. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, breaking up the meat mixture with a wooden spoon, until wine is evaporated, surface of pan is almost dry, and meat is finely ground (it’ll look like tiny bits – takes some effort, but very much worth it in the end).

Add chicken stock and reduce heat to the lowest setting.  Cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally, until meat is very, very tender – this process takes about 2-2/12 hours. Keep in mind that the sauce should not be at a rapid boil, only a light simmer. If the liquid reduces before the meat has tenderized, add an extra cup of water and continue cooking. Discard bay leaf. Add butter and slowly stir to emulsify into the sauce. 

Cook pasta according to directions in a large pot of boiling salted water. Fresh pasta typically takes about 3 minutes, while dry pasta varies by shape. Cook until just under al dente – meaning the pasta will still have a “chewy” texture (don’t worry, we’ll finish cooking it in the next step).

Using tongs or a pasta basket, transfer pasta to pot with sauce. Add 1 cup pasta water and grated Parmesan to sauce and increase heat to medium. Bring the pasta + sauce to a simmer and cook, tossing constantly, until the sauce has thickened and the pasta is al dente. Transfer pasta to a platter and top with more Parmesan.

Want to prep this ahead of time?  No problem. Bolognese sauce can be made 4 days ahead (and it freezes well!). Cover and chill.

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