There are few things as satisfying as a hearty bolognese on a blustery winter day. It fills your stomach and warms your body from the inside out.
Bolognese is an Italian meat-based sauce named after its place of origin: Bologna, Italy. The city of Bologna is actually the birthplace of most of what we consider “Italian” food here in the US: things like tortellini and lasagna and (duh) bolognese, a fact we learned 5 years ago when we spent a few days exploring its porticoed streets. All that rich, heavy cuisine has no place on the sunny shores of Southern Italy, after all.
Bolognese sauce, or ragù alla bolognese, is distinctly different from marinara in that it is meat rather than tomato-based, the only tomato in it (in my version at least) is a few spoonfuls of tomato paste.
We tweaked our favorite bolognese recipe and added pumpkin in two forms: puree stirred into the sauce for added richness and depth, and chunks of fresh pumpkin for texture. So if you’re not sick of pumpkin just yet, or maybe you have some pumpkin leftover after Thanksgiving, this would be a perfect recipe when you’ve exhausted every possibility for leftover turkey and frankly, couldn’t stomach another meal of it anyway. Meaty sauce over pasta is the perfect remedy for turkey-overload.
You’re really hitting all the food groups with this one, each spoonful containing a hearty serving of vegetables and meat and even some dairy in there too.
The first time I made this recipe I didn’t realize the inside of a white pumpkin would also be white, making for little chunks of pumpkin that actually looked like potatoes (which would have made for some confusing photos). So we made it again this week, using a proper orange pumpkin this time. Of course, like all my squash dishes this season, you could certainly substitute butternut or even jumbo sweet banana squash instead (they all taste relatively the same).