Sam and I moved in together just as the weather took a turn for the colder. I’m actually glad it worked out that way, because I’ve jumped right into cooking lots of slow, stewy things–my favorite way to turn a house into a home. Our freezer is already full of stock, soup, and sauce, the bones of many hearty homemade meals to come. And when it came to the bolognese, I went a little overboard.
Shortly after the move, on a weekend day when we unexpectedly had no plans, I got a wild hankering for a nice rich meat sauce. It suddenly seemed utterly urgent that we have bolognese for days, not just a single dinner’s worth but a freezer-full. So I pulled out a Marcella Hazan recipe I’d had bookmarked for a while and set about making a double batch of sauce. We had pasta to use up anyway, I reasoned, and besides, I like a full freezer.
I swapped out bison for beef, because I like the flavor better and thought the substitution would make the sauce special. It took hours and hours, the way so many good sauces do, and became the basis of an incredibly comforting pasta meal that night. I’ve been slowly working through the leftovers, poaching eggs in the sauce and eating it with bread. It’s familiar and ultra-comforting: rubbly and meaty and rich, the perfect thickness for coating pasta or cradling eggs.
Now, honesty time. The bison in here was delicious, but also nearly indistinguishable from beef. Normally, for burgers and soups, I prefer ground bison to ground beef. I like where the flavor lands: very much like beef, but a little gamier and leaner. In a slow-simmered sauce like this, though, I’m hard-pressed to tell the difference. The meat nearly melts into the sauce, and the gaminess and leanness do too. It tastes for all the world like a classic beef bolognese–just a really, really good one.