We had pasta a lot growing up for several reasons. First, it was a family favorite. Second, it was quick, and I am sure the third reason was because it was cheap. All those reasons still hold true for my family today, except my daughter (love her to death!) has never liked pasta sauce. Like ever. Butter and a bit of Parmesan cheese make her happy!
My late husband, being Italian, made the best gravy. Copious amounts of olive oil, canned Italian plum tomatoes and tons of garlic that he would simmer over the course of a weekend for our Sunday dinner. He preferred Italian sausage on the side.
My preference has always been Bolognese – a hearty meat filled sauce. And while this sauce will get better the longer it cooks, this is really ready in about 30 minutes. I love the addition of butternut squash, gives it a bit of a fall flavor, and if your kids don’t see you put it in the sauce, they will never know it’s there.
This recipe is also chock full of vegetables: celery, carrots, squash, diced tomatoes, so it balances out the richness of all the meat.
- 5 carrots, diced
- 5 stalks celery, diced
- ½ an onion, diced
- 28 ounce can diced tomatoes
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 14 ounce frozen package of butternut squash puree, thawed
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 4 ounces bacon
- 8 ounces lean ground beef
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- ½ cup whole milk
In a large stock pot, add the carrots, celery, onion, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and butternut squash and cook over medium high heat for 15 minutes. In a separate skillet, (I use my Lodge cast iron skillet, which we sell in both locations of The Chopping Block. Buy one if you don’t have one already; you’ll thank me later! And they just happen to be 20% off this month.) add the Italian sausage, bacon and ground beef and cook until the bacon is cooked. Drain any excess fat and add the meat.
Using a stick blender, blend the tomato sauce. Add in the cooked meat, then the rest of the ingredients, from crushed red pepper to the minced garlic. Stir and cook 10 more minutes.
Remove from the heat, and stir in the whole milk. Do a final taste test and add more salt if necessary. Serve over your favorite pasta – I prefer rigatoni or pappardelle. Garnish with some fresh basil and some Parmesan cheese and dinner is served!
Want to learn how to make pasta from scratch? Check out our upcoming pasta classes:
And if you love butternut squash like I do, check out our Taco Tuesday:
Let me know if you make this pasta sauce, I’d love to hear if your family liked it! Oh, and my daughter, who never likes sauce on her pasta? She ate two servings of this. #winning!