I wasn't thrilled when I saw the Week 41 challenge was bottled sauces from scratch. We have so many condiments and sauces in the pantry, and the last thing we really needed was to add one more. A had a great idea though - why not just make pasta sauce? It's technically a bottled sauce, so that worked for us. I decided to make bolognese sauce, since we've always wanted to make that at some point, and used a recipe we found on Vintage Mixer as a guide.
The ingredients for the sauce were:
- 1 tbsp olive oil ($0.20)
- 2 tbsp butter ($0.16)
- 1 onion, chopped ($0.50)
- 1 bunch of carrots, chopped ($0.89)
- 1 bunch of celery, chopped ($0.90)
- 1 lb of ground turkey ($4.30)
- salt ($0.05)
- pepper ($0.05)
- cayenne ($0.05)
- nutmeg ($0.05)
- 1.5 cups milk ($0.43)
- 1.5 cups white wine ($1)
- 28 oz canned whole tomatoes with liquid ($1.59)
- 2 cups water ($0)
The total for the sauce was about $10.17, and since we paired it with homemade pasta (for the Week 42 challenge), the total for the entire dinner was under $11. It cost more than a jar of sauce would, but no single jar of sauce from the grocery store would have this much stuff in it or yield this much sauce.
The recipe said it would take 5-6 hours to make the sauce, and they weren't kidding. I probably could have ended it a little earlier than I did, but we were still making the pasta, so I just kept simmering the sauce. The basic steps were:
- prep: chop onions, chop carrots, chop celery
- heat olive oil and butter in large pot (should melt butter first and then add oil)
- saute onion, carrots, celery
- once softened, add ground turkey, season with salt and pepper, and cook, breaking up the turkey as it cooks
- add about 1/2 tsp cayenne and a couple of dashes of nutmeg
- reduce heat to low
- add milk, bring to simmer, and simmer until all milk is absorbed, stirring periodically (this took a while)
- add wine, and simmer until all wine has evaporated/absorbed, stirring periodically (much quicker than the milk)
- add liquid from canned tomatoes and also the tomatoes, breaking the tomatoes up by hand while adding them
- add about 1/2 cup of water and let sauce simmer
- add water (1/4-1/2 cup at a time) and add salt and pepper to taste periodically and let simmer for at least an hour (I just kept tasting it and once satisfied let it go until pasta was ready)
Although there were a lot of steps and it took a lot of time, it wasn't really that difficult to make. There was just a lot of waiting, a lot of checking, and a lot of tasting (at least the last part was fun).
The sauce was pretty good. It didn't have the richness of some of the bolognese sauces we've gotten at restaurants, which is probably because our version was made with ground turkey instead of some sort of red meat. But it was still really tasty, and we were glad that we finally tried making it.