Barbara’s Bolognese Spaghetti Sauce

Barbara’s Bolognese Spaghetti Sauce
A hearty meat-lovers sauce made with ground beef and Italian sausage — warning!! — vegans beware!…this is not a vegetarian dish by any stretch of the imagination…the ground chuck and hot Italian sausage seared and infused with the other ingredients, makes this a very meaty sauce, big on flavor, and satisfying to the hungry appetite.

My late wife Barbara (she passed away in 2008) was not only a gourmet cook, but more of a scientist, chemist, chef extraordinaire, a Chef De Cuisine even, in the kitchen  Early on in her younger life, she had discovered that she didn’t know how to cook. Her idea to make spaghetti sauce by pouring a can of tomato soup over some noodles revealed the startling fact that food also needs to be edible as well as possessing at least a semblance of desirable taste. She had the brain of an Einstein, chemist, scientist, all rolled into one, so coupled with the heart and determination of a fierce battle-worn warrior, she simply taught herself how to cook. By the time we met in 1978 she had already developed into a sort of “Chef de Cuisine, Master of Culinary Arts.”

I was always fascinated watching her prepare a meal or a dish. She rarely measured anything, just a pinch here, a dash there, a little of this, a lot of that and voila a culinary masterpiece! And that’s the way she fed me for nearly 30 years. She was always after new recipes and ideas. I still have a nearly two-inch high stack of as yet untried recipes she had gathered from various sources, new things she just wanted to try.

Once about a year after we had met, she was making her now-famous, greatly modified, time-tested and very wonderful spaghetti sauce, but I insisted on watching her closely and taking note of the ingredients. Every time she made something, it was always good, but because she never measured anything, the same dish might have a slightly different caliber each time. Hey, whether it’s a .357mag or 9mm, it’s still a bullet. To this day, I still make that same sauce from her 1978 recipe. So here it is for those of you who might be meat-lovers, this sauce is for you – not for the faint-hearted and definitely not for vegans!


Barbara’s Bolognese Spaghetti Sauce



1 lb ground round, chuck or market ground beef
1 lb hot Italian sausage
1 – 28 oz can of tomatoes (your choice, Romas, crushed, whole)
1 – 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 – 6 1/2 oz can tomato paste
1 6 1/2 oz can/jar sliced mushrooms
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 TBSP dried minced onions
2 TBSP dried parsley
1/2 TBSP Italian seasoning
1/2 TBSP garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 whole bay leaf


1.  Remove the casings from the Italian sausage and carefully cut into 1/2 inch slices.  Brown the slices in a 7 qt dutch oven, carefully turning each piece over so both sides are browned.  Remove and set aside.  I always leave the minimal amount of grease for seasoning, but you may remove it if you’d like.
2.  Brown the ground beef, (again, remove the grease if you prefer) then add the Italian sausage back into the pot with the ground beef. (*Note – You may substitute SmartGround for the ground beef, but if you do so, brown it first in olive oil, seasoned salt, & garlic to give it some flavor)
3.  Add the dry seasonings and mix well.
4.  Add liquid ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer from 2-4 hours.  Periodically, check the simmer level and stir the mixture.
5. Serve over your choice of pasta – bolognese sauces are typically served over spaghetti, however I like it over angel hair.
6.  Serve with Asiago/Romano/Parmesan mixture to garnish. French bread or a baguette with butter also works wonderfully well with this dish.
Bon Appetit!
Barbara Kathleen Cassada 1947-2008

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s