This recipe churns out such a lovely, thick succulent sauce of meat, herbs and tomatoes that it is almost chili-like. In fact, when I am avoiding carbs, I will eat just a bowl of this and call it "Italian Chili." I bet if I tossed in some white cannellini beans this would be over-the-top good.
You might say that nothing is worth waiting the hours it takes to cook, but in fact you would be wrong. I usually let this simmer on the stove for a few hours, letting all that collagen in the meat break down into gelatin, though it can be ready about 3 hours after you start.
Topped with some freshly grated parmigiano reggiano and a chiffonade of fresh basil, you have a satisfying and sublime dish.
See? I ate this last night with no pasta, just a bowl full of sauce. It was insanely delicious.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 large onions, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- pounds lean ground beef
- 1 cup beef broth
- 2 (14 ounce) cans peeled and diced tomatoes, juice reserved
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 stalk celery, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 T dried basil
- 1 T minced sundried tomato and garlic* (See Notes)
- ½ cup red wine
- 1 T minced sundried tomato and garlic
Even better the next day.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic until onions are tender. Stir in red bell pepper and saute 2 minutes.
- Place ground beef in the skillet and cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Stir in beef broth, diced tomatoes (without the juice), wine and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and add celery, bay leaves and Italian seasoning.
- Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour, or until sauce thickens. Check from time to time and stir, making sure that it is not sticking and burning. You don't want this to scorch.
- Add 1 tablespoon of the minced sundried tomato and garlic, 1 T of basil and let simmer for another hour.
- Remove the bay leaves, add ½ cup of red wine, the reserved tomato juice and the final tablespoon of minced sundried tomato and garlic, raise the heat slightly, uncover and let cook down if necessary.
- Serve over pasta.
- About the sundried tomatoes and garlic - I often buy California brand minced sun-dried tomato with garlic, but if I can't find that, I will substitute jarred sun-dried tomato pesto.
Barring that, I make my own mixture by dumping 1/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes into a bowl and covering them with really hot, near-boiling water and let them sit and rehydrate.
Then I chop them finely and add minced garlic and a wee bit of olive oil and let them sit for about 30 minutes.
- Be sure to use your largest skillet or good-sized dutch oven, because this makes a ton of sauce.