Genovese sauce is an Italian onion and meat where everything is slowly braised until the beef is falling apart tender and the onions are caramelized. This is a super simple sauce with two main ingredients and yet it’s so amazing! The onions are the star of the show and they are slowly braised before simmering until they turn a deep golden brown and caramelize, releasing their sweetness, similar to French onion soup. The meat, usually beef or pork, is slowly braised with the onions until it is falling apart tender and then it’s broken into small stingy pieces to mix into the sauce! Celery and carrots round off the sauce, but there is only a small amount of them to add a hint of flavour and aromatics without being a prominent flavour. This sauce takes some time to make but it’s so worth it! Genovese sauce is often served on a wide tubular pasta such as ziti or rigatoni but it works with pretty much any pasta or with gnocchi or over polenta!
A slowly braised beef and caramelized onion sauce that’s just packed with flavour!
- 4 ounces bacon or pancetta (optional), diced
- 3 pounds onions, sliced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1 stalk celery, diced
- 2 pounds stewing beef (such as chuck), cut into large cubes
- 1 cup beef broth (or white wine wine or water)
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the bacon in a large saucepan until crispy and set aside, reserving the grease in the pan.
- Add the onions, carrot and celery to the pan and cook in the bacon grease until tender, about 7-10 minutes.
- Add the beef, bacon, broth, and bay leaf, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 3 hours before removing the lid and continuing to simmer until any excess liquid is cooked off and the onions are a deep golden brown, about an hour.
- Break the meat apart with a large spoon and mix before seasoning with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!
Tip: Use a food processor to slice the onions to save your eyes!
Option: Omit the bacon/pancetta and use 2 tablespoons of lard or olive oil to cook the vegetables.
Option: Add an herb such as thyme or marjoram, rosemary, or parsley.
Note: There should be enough liquid left in the pan to create a nice sauce but not enough that it is a stew or a soup.
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