This Slow Cooker Bolognese with MushroomS and Eggplant is a new take on a classic sauce, perfect for a big bowl of pasta.
This weekend was a wonderful one.
Christian was in town to celebrate Valentine’s Day with me. Whenever we get to see each other, I try to make the best out of every moment, because I know once we part on Sunday, it will be at least two weeks until we see each other again. I realize many people are apart from their partners for much, much longer, and I don’t know how you do it.
We started our weekend off with a dinner at Beach House in Anna Maria Island, a restaurant right on Bradenton Beach with a menu focused on sustainability. We enjoyed our dinner just yards from the ocean, and were even able to catch the sunset! The fish was incredibly fresh and each dish was unique and flavorful.
Saturday was a day full of running errands (something I enjoy when Christian is with me), hitting golf balls, and, if you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat (username christinav13) you know this – we made our own pasta!
Christian recently made his own ravioli at his house in Gainesville, and was dying to try it again. I’d never made it, but of course I was down to give it a try. There’s nothing like fresh pasta. And to think all it takes is flour and eggs! We made a combination of spinach-ricotta ravioli and plain fettuccine.
To make the spinach ricotta filling, simply saute spinach in olive oil until it is completely wilted. Use a paper towel to ring out the excess liquid from the spinach, and place it in a food processor. Add about a cup of ricotta cheese, and a couple cloves of garlic, with some salt and pepper. Process until a paste is formed. Voila!
Oh, and by the way, I don’t own a pasta attachment or machine… this was all done by hand. Even the fettuccine. Strand by strand. To give you a glimpse into the process, here is a photo story (needless to say my camera got a little dirty with flour):
I chose to mix my flour and eggs in the Kitchen Aid mixer using the dough hook attachment. Christian went the rustic route and created the traditional ‘volcano’ with his flour and whisked his eggs in the hole. The only difference with these techniques is the obvious: one is hands-on, the other is not. However, when my dough was finished being combined in the mixer, I still proceeded to knead it on a board to ensure it was well-combined.
I used 3 cups of all-purpose flour with 4 eggs plus about 1/4 cup room temperature water. Christian used 2 cups of flour with 2 eggs.
After we kneaded our dough, we wrapped each ball in plastic wrap and placed in the refrigerator for exactly thirty minutes.
Using a rolling pin, we rolled out our dough. I broke mine into fourths (I soon realized that I made too much), and Christian broke his in half. While you are using one half, make sure to wrap the other half in plastic wrap and set aside.
Roll your dough out as thin as possible if you are not using a pasta-maker attachment. Try your best to replicate the result of that machine.
Using a pizza cutter, roll out about 1.5 inch strips. Place the filling on the lower end of one strip, then fold over the other end to form a raviolo.
Tip: To make the edges of the ravioli stick, stick your finger into some egg wash and paint the edges.
I also made fettuccine, as I said before, and used the pasta cutter to cut out each strand.
When ready to cook, bring a pot of water to a boil. Add in the ravioli and cook for about 10-15 minutes.
Now, despite the long process of our pasta-making adventure, which of course was the main talking point at the dinner table, this bolognese sauce was still a superstar. Gotta love a good crockpot sauce – throw it all in and let the crockpot do the cooking for you!
I know, not the prettiest, but trust me – we couldn’t get enough of it.
- 2 lb ground beef (80% lean)
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 6oz can tomato paste
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1¼ cup white or red wine (red recommended)
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- ½ eggplant, cubed
- 3 tbsp dried basil (plus more to taste)
- 3 tbsp garlic powder (plus more to taste)
- 1 tbsp salt (plus more to taste)
- Add the onion, mushrooms, eggplant, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, basil, garlic powder and salt to the crockpot.
- Add the extra virgin olive oil to a large saute pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add in the garlic and saute for about 1 minute.
- Add the beef. Break up with a spatula and continue cooking until the meat is no longer pink. Add beef to a colander and drain the excess fat.
- Pour the beef into the crockpot. Add wine over the beef.
- Stir all of the ingredients to make sure everything is combined well.
- Set heat to low and let cook for 5-6 hours.
- Serve over pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and fresh Italian parsley!
How did you spend your Valentine’s weekend?
Have you ever made pasta?
Hover over this image and click ‘pin it’ for later!