Sunday, August 13, 2017

Mushroom Bolognese with Summer Squash

My favorite meals in the summer come straight out of our veggie garden, and this recipe in particular -- using fresh summer squash, tomatoes, basil, and oregano from our bounty -- is heavenly...

I love to combine a thick, meaty Bolognese sauce with zucchini and yellow crooked-neck squash. So good! Over the years, I've tweaked and {in my not-so-humble opinion} ultimately perfected this Bolognese recipe. My husband has labeled it "the best," not that he's particularly impartial, mind you, but I do think this recipe is worth sharing...

Ingredients for Bolognese (Meat Sauce):

8 ounces of fresh white mushrooms 
1 slice hearty white sandwich bread, torn into quarters
2 Tbsp. milk
Salt & pepper
1 lb. 85% lean ground beef
1 lb. mild Italian sausage
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped fine
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 heaping Tbsp. tomato paste
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes (set aside 2 Tbsp. of juice) -- sometimes I use fresh tomatoes out of my garden
2 tsp. dried oregano or 1 tsp. fresh oregano
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
2 beef bouillon cubes 
1 rounded Tbsp. granulated sugar
Basil - fresh, about 10 leaves, sliced thin
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

1. Pulse mushrooms in food processor until finely chopped, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
2. Add bread, milk, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper to now-empty food processor and pulse until paste forms. Fold this paste (Panade) into beef and sausage and set aside this meat mixture.
3. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat and add onion and mushrooms. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are browned and dark bits form on saucepan bottom, about 6 to 12 minutes. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, and ground red pepper; cook until fragrant and tomato paste starts to brown, about 1 minute. Add reserved 2 Tbsp. of tomato juice (from can of diced tomatoes), and oregano, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add meat mixture and cook, breaking the ground beef and sausage into small pieces, until it loses its raw color -- 2 to 4 minutes, making sure the beef does not brown. 
4. Stir in crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, beef bouillon cubes, basil, and sugar; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer until sauce has thickened and flavors have blended -- about an hour on very low heat. Stir in Parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper, if necessary. 

Zucchini and Yellow Crooked-Neck Squash

Wash and cut 1/4" rounds of zucchini and squash. Line a cookie sheet with foil, put a little olive oil on the foil and spread it around. Place your squash rounds on the cookie sheet. Spray rounds with Pam and salt and pepper. Broil in 450 degree oven for about 8 - 10 minutes. I test after about 8 minutes and if they are slightly soft, they're done!

Layer cooked squash in bottom of bowl. Spoon yummy Bolognese sauce over squash and top with fresh Parmesan or Feta cheese. It tastes heavenly and it's good for you. What's not to love?

{During colder months you can always enjoy the Bolognese sauce over pasta!}