Monday, April 29, 2013

RiRi's Best Bolognese Sauce Recipe & 100 Pageviews


Hey, everyone! Big news, big news! Thanks to all your guys' support, Sweet and SavoRi has been visited 108 times. Wow! I find that pretty fantastic, considering this blog has only been up since Thursday. Granted, at least one tenth of the views are from me, but overall, I'm still VERY impressed with the numbers. I suppose a lot of thanks is due to this era of information and technology we're living in now. Sites like Facebook and whatnot have made it ludicrously easy to share anything, including sites like this blog. So, anyway, as thanks and gratitude to you all, I'm sharing with you my super-special, delicious, nutritious, totally fantastic Spaghetti Bolognese recipe. Keep reading for a list of ingredients and step-by-step instructions (with pictures! Ooh!)

Alright, once more before we begin, let me say "Thank you" to all you readers. I'm just so grateful for all of your support, and I hope you continue to read this blog. You all are just so great! Anyway, enough dilly-dally- let's get cooking!


I don't know about you readers, but my favorite part of a full spaghetti dinner is the sauce, believe it or not. I think this is mainly since my father makes some of the best Bolognese (aka meat sauce) you have ever tasted. He isn't the type of guy who browns up some ground beef and just plops a jar of Ragu on top, oh no- He adds a slew of his own vegetables to the mix, several different spices, and even a splash of red wine, which has been shown to be heart-healthy. Then he lets the sauce simmer for several hours to release an amazing flavor. All of those ingredients would add up to make a perfectly, healthy sauce by themselves, but sadly, the average hunk of ground beef found in Bolognese sauce is high in fat and calories. But, dear dieters and health-conscious friends, do not despair! There are actually a lot more great-tasting alternatives to ground beef then you'd think there are.
Today's recipe is a fusion of my father's classic Bolognese and my knowledge of healthy products. Essentially, I'm going to teach you readers how to make a rich, fantastic sauce that won't do damage to your waistline. Instead of your standard ground beef, I'll be using ground venison (or la deer) as the protein base for this sauce. According to USDA data, ground venison is only around 180 calories for a 4 oz. serving, while ground beef is nearly 300 calories for the same amount. Scared of eating a Bambi? Don't worry- when cooked with all the other ingredients of Bolognese, he tastes just like any ol' cow.
Okay, so here's what you'll need to make your own fancy, schmancy, delicious, nutritious "RiRi's Best Bolognese" right from the comfort of your own home!
As far as materials go, you'll need:
  • One large saucepan (As large as you got)
  • One can opener
  • One spatula
  • One sharp knife
  • Optional: One miniature butcher knife or garlic knife (for chopping the garlic easier)
And when it comes to ingridients, you'll want to have:
  • 1 1/2 pounds (24 oz.) of ground venison
  • One jar of Tomato & Basil Spaghetti Sauce with about six 1/2 cup servings
  • 1 large onion (I used a Sweet Vidalia this time. They're my favorite onion overall.)
  • 1/2 a head of fresh garlic
  • 1 8 oz. package of Baby Bella mushrooms
  • 2 cans of stewed tomatoes (Each with about 3 1/2 servings)
  • 1 can of peeled, diced tomatoes (With about 3 1/2 servings)
  • One small can of tomato paste
  • A 1/2 cup red wine of your choosing)
You're also going to need some spices to give this sauce some flavor! I don't necessarily use specific measurements with my spices- I just go with what "feels" right. Here's a picture and list of spices I used for this recipe, and recommend you all use as well for that one-of-a-kind, homemade, can't find in a jar flavor:


  • Italian Seasoning
  • Garlic Powder
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Bay Leaves (2 is a good amount)

I also prefer a bit of Red Pepper Flakes in my sauce for that slight kick, but not everybody likes it spicy, so it's completely up to each of your own tastes whether to add it or not.

Alright, got everything you need all together?

... (I'm hoping this is where you say "Yes" and nod your head.)

Good! As they say in Italy, "Andiamo!"


  1. Peel the skin off of the onion, cut off the ends, and chop up the rest with a sharp knife. I like to add  ariety by cubing half of the onion and slicing the other. Make sure the slices aren't too thick, or they won't cook down as well.                                                                                                                           
  2. Like the onion, peel the skins off of each clove of garlic and cut off the ends. For mincing garlic, I like to use this mini butcher knife my dad has. Not sure If that's the proper kitchen term for it, but here it is:


          Well, you can use whatever you want to mince the garlic. Whichever tool works best for you. So mince it up, people!

     3.  Put all of the ground venison, about 3/4 of the garlic, and about half of the onion in the saucepan. Place that over medium-high heat and sauté until the meat is browned and crumbly. While you sauté, add a decent amount of each seasoning to the mixture.
       Oh right, another tip before we proceed- I know a lot of people like to cook their meat in olive oil for spaghetti sauce, but when you're watching your weight, it's best not to in my eyes. Sure, olive oil is high in heart-healthy monosaturated fats, but a tablespoon alone has just 120 calories. Yikes! That can add up fast if you're using more than an itty-bitty tablespoon (Sorry folks, it does NOT cook off either). And don't worry about the meat sticking to the pan- it's juice will prevent it from doing so.

     4.  Once the venison is fully cooked, drain any excess liquid from the saucepan and return it to the stove, decreasing the temperature to a medium-low heat.

     5.  Add the jar of spaghetti sauce to the saucepan. Then, fill it up with a small amount of water, cover the top, shake the jar to grab any leftover bits of sauce, and empty the rest of it into the saucepan as well. Stir until sauce is well distributed.

     6.  Open the three cans of tomatoes and dump those into the saucepan. Fold those in until they are spread out evenly among the mixture.

     7.  Open the can of tomato paste. Using a knife, scrape the contents into the saucepan and stir well until the sauce thickens.

 
     8.  Add the rest of the garlic and onion to the mix and stir.

   

     9.  Wash any dirt away from the mushrooms. Once they are all clean, slice them up. I like to slice half of the mushrooms horizontally, and cut the other half in quarters. Place the mushrooms into the sauce and stir well.


    10. Add the bay leaves in and more spices, if desired. Stir one last time before turning the heat down onto low.

Tip: Molto importante! For best results, cook the sauce on low heat for a few hours before serving. Or do it the night before! It gives the different flavors a chance to commingle. If this just isn't possible, add the 1/2 cup of wine now. If you do have time for slow-cooking the sauce, add the red wine about ten minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings. Each serving has about 250 calories, 7g of fat, 18g of carbs, and 23g of protein.

So there you have it! Facile, right? (Okay, okay, I'll stop with the Italian). I hope you guys enjoy this recipe! I cooked the sauce yesterday and had it for dinner tonight, along with some white fiber spaghetti from Barilla. This pasta is great stuff, by the way: It has the taste of white spaghetti, with all the fiber of wheat! Pretty awesome!


Anyway, the sauce tasted great. I always put on a few spoonfuls before we eat, thinking that's all I'll eat, then end up getting back up for several a couple more. It's just that good! But, I'll confess, I had my share of mistakes when making the sauce this time. I forgot the bay leaves, for one thing. Also, we didn't have mushrooms or a single jar of sauce, so my father had to run to the store to pick those up. And while he was doing that, I spilled a stinking boatload of Alphabet noodles all over the counter top.Well, we all make mistakes, so don't freak out if the cooking process doesn't go perfectly. Making mistakes is part of the adventure, I think. So have fun!
           Had to put the sauce in a bigger pot...

Well, what recipe should I pull out next? And when? I think I'll do another when we hit 250 page visits. Sounds like a good milestone to me!

What is your favorite spaghetti sauce? What is your favorite Italian food? Do you guys have any low-calorie Italian dishes of your own? Leave your comments down below. Thanks for reading, everybody!










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