Friday, February 17, 2012

Crockpot Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce


I am always looking for healthier ways to cook and when I found this at Gina's skinnytaste.com blog, I decided to give it a try.  It works out to 146 calories per 1/2 cup serving.  If you click on the name it will take you to their recipe.

The other good news for me is that this is a crockpot meal, and lately I have been using my crockpot more than I ever did.  Makes cooking so much easier because as I've said before, you can start preparing early in the day and by the time the meal is cooked, you can relax, sit back and enjoy your meal.  There is a little preparation beforehand and you have to chop up all the vegetables but there are short-cuts.  You can use your food processor if you have one.  I do all the veggie chopping with my handy sharp knife but the key words are "early in the day" when energy levels are pretty good.  I could use a processor but frankly I find the process of preparation relaxing.

Crockpot Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce

4 ounces of Pancetta, chopped (or center cut bacon)
1 teaspoon butter (or olive oil)
1 large white onion, minced
2 celery stalks (about 3/4 cup), minced
2 carrots (about 3/4 cup), minced
2 lbs. 95% lean ground beef
1/4 cup white wine
2 - 28 ounce - cans crushed tomatoes
3 bay leaves
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup  half and half cream

In a large saute pan, saute pancetta on low heat until the fat melts, about 4-5 minutes.

Add butter (or olive oil), onions, celery, carrots and cook on medium-low heat until soft, about five minutes.

Increase heat to medium-high and add meat, season with salt and pepper, and saute until browned.  Drain the fat, then add the wine, and pour yourself a glass should the sun be over the yard arm.  Maybe this is one of the reason all good chefs I've listened to, when using wine for cooking, don't buy one of the cheap cooking wines!  Cook until liquid reduces down, about 3-4 minutes.

Add this mixture to the crockpot, along with the tomatoes, bay leaves, salt and pepper.  Cover and set on low and go do other things for the next six hours.  After six hours, serve up your dinner.

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Another good result, very yummy and a keeper.

Whenever I am cooking spaghetti, I always use Angel Hair Pasta.  Gregg's Mom once served it to us years ago and we discovered a new taste sensation thanks to her.  We now enjoy this much more than the regular  - and thicker - spaghetti.  Of course, it depends on your own personal taste.  My mother-in-law made the best spaghetti and meatballs too.  As I get older I remember more and more the good memories surrounding the food that our mothers cooked for us.

We had this meal two nights in a row.  The first night I served it with a mixed green salad.  I had some shredded Gruyere cheese left over from another recipe which I wanted to use up, and so I sprinkled a couple of slices of bread with the cheese and melted it under the grill.   The second night I had been out all day and it was nice just to be able to heat up the leftovers for another delicious meal.  Both Gregg and I said it tasted even better.   I still had leftovers and froze the rest for future meals.  

15 comments:

Betsy from Tennessee said...

YUM---looks fabulous, Denise. I love my crockpot also --and used it ALOT when I was working fulltime. I don't use it as much anymore since we are retired. But--I may have to try this spaghetti recipe. Thanks.
Hugs,
Betsy

Lui said...

Hmmm, another yummy dish, Denise!
Although I try to avoid red meat I am not a vegetarian. And, on some occasions, had red meat simply because the dish look appetizing! This one calls for indulgence! ;-)

Cloudia said...

NOW I gotta eat!


Aloha from Waikiki
Comfort Spiral

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The Elephant's Child said...

I am a vegetarian but my partner is not. We cook variations on this dish for him and freeze any leftovers for another, lazier evening.

gigihawaii said...

Too bad I don't have a crock pot. This looks like a very good recipe.

ascu75 aka Don said...

Denise I like the idea of pouring a glass of wine, remember it is always five oclock somewhere.

Out on the prairie said...

Sometimes I cook the veggies a bit longer for a different flavor.I grate my carrots.

Cezar and Léia said...

Thanks for the review and the recipe, looks delicious! :)
Léia

Linda Starr said...

It's been a while since I used my crockpot, this sound like a good recipe to try. I usually make a big batch of whatever and put the crock right in the frig with the lid and just scoop out of it the next day and heat up a small portion of left overs for the two of us. That way I don't have to cook every day, so I love crockpot cooking. Ha.

Janet said...

Looks yummy -will definitely give this one a go-thanks x

Andrew said...

Wonderful Denise... I so grateful.. a wonderful meal xx

Kay said...

Mmmmm... that sounds really wonderful. I haven't used a crockpot in a decade. I even left mine back in Illinois with my daughter when we moved. Now you're making me want to go out and get another one. :-)

ShySongbird said...

I know it is delicious because I cook it myself regularly although I leave out the cream and usually add red wine rather than white. I often make more than we need so that like you I have an easy meal to reheat the next day. It is definitely a dish which benefits from long slow cooking. I like to grate Parmesan cheese on the finished dish too. I can see this meal being on the menu very soon in many homes after your post. I suspect you have tummies rumbling all around blogland Denise, ;-)

Gill - That British Woman said...

that does sound and look good. It must make a big batch? Never had angel hair pasta instead of spaghetti, shall give it a try.

Gill

Marie said...

It sounds delicious! I like to use angelhair pasta too. I have never been able to make meatballs, but just do the standard jar spaghetti sauce over ground beef and I "spice" it up with some oregano, basil and garlic; some chopped bell pepper or mushrooms if I have them.