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Fresh Garlic Beef Bolognese

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Sometimes it is more important to cook to the ingredient instead of to the recipe. Assuming you can even find fresh garlic recipes. That is exactly the reason behind Fresh Garlic Beef Bolognese.

In the spring you can find fresh garlic and soft tasty young green onions at farmer’s markets. Both ingredients have more taste than their year-round siblings. I am a bit surprised that there are not many fresh garlic recipes to be found, because it really should be considered a different ingredient. I am happy to add this one to the fresh garlic recipe shortlist.

Garlic in pasta is not a unique thought. But in this bolognese (or meat ragu) you will find these two ingredients are enough flavor and work wonderfully well as a base instead of a classical soffritto.

Plated Fresh Garlic Beef Bolognese
Fresh Garlic and Spring Onions are all this Bolognese needs

A Deeper understanding of Cooking

No, this is not my go-to Beef Bolognese, but it is great when I have these ingredients. Furthermore, it perfectly demonstrates the Zous Chef approach using analytics — understanding the pattern and the variations in data. The pattern is the standard requirement of bolognese, and the variation is driven by the best ingredients I have in front of me.

If you are shopping fresh providers in the spring, you can likely find fresh young garlic and onions and can make this dish just like I did. But most importantly, you can follow my thought processes and make this dish with what you find at your market.

Notes on the Ingredients

A Simplier Soffritto, but Still a Soffritto

A soffritto is the foundation of many Italian dishes. It is diced carrots, celery, and onions cooked nice and slow in olive oil. In my case, I found the fresh wild garlic to be tasty enough to replace both the carrots and the celery. Of significance, the young fresh garlic has a sweetness to it, not what you normally associate with garlic. So the carrots are not needed.

Fresh Garlic and Spring Onions
Fresh Garlic and Spring Onions

Red Wine

The bolognese would not be complete without the red wine. A wine made with Sangiovese (the grape) is best. It is the predominant Italian red wine. The wine is used to deglaze the pan again completing the flavor profile.


The recipe below calls for canned tomato sauce. This cheat allows the dish to be prepared in about an hour. If you prefer canned peeled tomatoes instead of the sauce, and importantly you have 3 to 4 hours, by all means, substitute canned or fresh tomatoes.

Pecorino Cheese

Pecorino Cheese in this dish rounds the taste out a bit. It is a bit milder than Parmigiano Reggiano, so works well. However, Parmigiano will work, if Pecorino is not available. Even milk or cream if necessary.

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Plated Fresh Garlic Beef Bolognese

Fresh Garlic Beef Bolognese

Yield: 6 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour

Fresh Garlic and Spring Onions transform this classic.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium bulb fresh garlic
  • 1 large bulb spring onions
  • 2-4 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 cup red wine (Sangiovese preferred)
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) of tomato sauce (see note, if using fresh or canned tomatoes)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Bunch of fresh Oregano (dried if necessary)
  • ½ cup grated pecorino cheese


  1. Add a bit of the olive oil to a Dutch oven over medium heat. When warm add the ground beef and completely brown. Salt while cooking. When browned, drain the beef, remove it from pan, and set aside.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and add the remaining olive oil to the pan and add chopped garlic and onions. Cook until just golden.
  3. Add the red wine and start deglazing the pan. Reduce the wine until about ⅓ of the wine remains.
  4. Add back in the ground beef, the tomato sauce, the bit of sugar, and the oregano. Adjust salt as needed -- be aware the tomato sauce may be somewhat salty. Add pepper, to taste.
  5. Simmer for about 45 minutes. Add the Pecorino cheese, mix, and simmer on low for another 15 minutes. Cover and allow to sit for at least an hour, if possible. (see note)
  6. Serve with any pasta you like, rewarming only the amount of sauce you need.


If desired canned tomatoes (28.5 ounces / ### ) can be used. If so, simmer for 3 to 4 hours, before adding the Pecorino cheese)

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 356Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 410mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 23g

Calculated Nutrition is estimated.

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