Friday, May 21, 2010

Pasta Bolognese

My Mom clipped an article for me, out of a grocery store's magazine, probably late last summer. It was a reader submission section, where one could write a short piece sharing a food related memory. She suggested that I write something and send it in - why not, she said.

It's taken me this long to get around to it. I can be such a fabulous procrastinator when I want to, yes?


I've finally written a piece. And because I waited so long, it doesn't look like the magazine has this reader submitted section anymore. So I'm feeling rather like a balloon that's lost it's air.

Will you read my article? It's about my son, the Bear, and a pretty fantabulous milestone he conquered just the other day, and it was all because of some pasta bolognese...

"My son Bear is two and a half years old. He's what some might call 'special needs' or 'challenged'; his main issue is hypopituitarism, which means his body does not produce certain necessary chemicals like yours and mine do.

Due to this deficiency, his development has been somewhat slower than typical kids his age so every milestone is celebrated because it's been achieved, rather than when he achieves it.

You see, when he was born, all the doctors and specialists at the children's hospital insinuated that he would be extremely dependent. Possibly never walking or talking, blindness was a strong possibility and consuming anything other than pureed food wasn't even brought up because it was so far fetched, at that time.

Turns out the specialists were wrong.

Bear is progressing well. Very well, in fact. Yes, he's delayed. We're just fine with that - because he is progressing.

A few days ago the Bear hit a pretty big milestone, in our opinions, anyway. He ate his entire dinner, by himself, with his fingers.

Previously he'd point at his spoon, then at either myself or my husband, communicating that he wanted us to feed him.
Not this time. He dug in with both hands and pasta bolognese spread far and wide.

I couldn't have been more excited to see bits of carrot and ground pork on my newly installed hardwood - not to mention every square inch of Bear's face, hair and
(thankfully) his dark colored t shirt. I was cheering him on with every meaty handful. He was terribly encouraged by this and joined me in arms-raised excitement.

That pasta bolognese recipe is going down in the memory books as
the meal that helped my son reach a long awaited milestone."

PS - it was really quite delicious, too.

This recipe makes a lot of ragu. I halved the recipe and had enough sauce to make a big pot of pasta for our dinner, plus leftovers for the Bear and I as well as my husband's lunch the next day - and I froze about four cups worth for future meals.

Ragu alla Bolognese
Lemons & Anchovies

2 pounds ground pork

1 pound ground turkey

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

2 - 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes

1 small can tomato paste

3 ribs celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1/2 cup red wine or chicken stock, plus more if necessary

1/4 cup milk

grated Parmesan for serving

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

Place celery, carrot and onion in a food processor and pulse till finely chopped. Saute the vegetables in olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pan over medium heat for 6-7 minutes. Raise heat to high and add the ground meats. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, breaking up the meats as they cook.

When the meats become a light golden color (approximately 6-8 minutes), add the wine or chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pan as it deglazes. Cook until the wine has almost reduced then add the tomato paste, tomatoes and more wine or stock if needed. Bring to a boil then simmer about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Add the milk during the last half hour of cooking.

At this time the sauce will be a medium thick consistency. If it's too dry, add more wine or stock. If it's not thick enough, allow to simmer longer to reduce and thicken.

Serve over your favorite pasta.

I blog over at Gotta Little Space and Suitable For Consumption - come on over and say hi! If you'd like to read more about my son, here's a link to posts about him!


  1. Congratulations! That is a very special Milestone! It's amazing what faith in your family can do. Blessings to you all!!

    P.S. I will have to try this recipe too :)

  2. Ok, I am tearing up over that. Your son is so handsome. What an amazing milestone!

  3. I loved reading your son's success. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Bear is beautiful :) We'll try the recipe soon and I'll always remember the story that goes with it :)

  4. What a lovely story and I can't wait to make this - looks delicious!

  5. Your story tugged at my heart - what a great milestone. The recipe sounds easy and delicious, thanks for sharing.

  6. Congratulations on the achievement! I have a special needs son too so I know how fantastic it feels to see your kids finally achieve something they've worked hard towards!

    PS-The recipe looks yummy too! ;D

  7. Way to go Baby Bear!!! Yippeee!!!! I am so, so happy for you!
    Don't you just love proving those doctors wrong??

  8. Thank you for writing such a great blog. I passed on a blog award to you. I did not know how to contact you other than leave a message.

  9. Sharing your joy in Bears accomplishment! Precious little boy you have there :)

    Kindly, ldh

  10. Thank you all SO much!!! We are so proud of him - and can't wait to see what else he's gonna do!

  11. Congratulations to you and your son! Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

  12. I think if you did submit this story it would have won hands down, a beautiful story with a very happy ending. Bear is adorable:)

  13. I clicked on the link because I love anything resembling chili mac...and now I have tears of joy flowing over your son's accomplishment. Congratulations on proving those doctors wrong! He is precious...bolognese and all!


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