Anniversary Slow Cooker Beef Bolognese is a souped-up version of the traditional Italian Meat Sauce made EASY by cooking it in the slow cooker! Beef bolognese is a traditionally cooked slowly on the stove for hours so that the flavors of the tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, wine and meat become one and turn into this amazing thick sauce. My recipe adds even MORE FLAVOR with Pancetta and Demi-Glace and then it all cooks in the slow cooker so you can go about your busy day!
Dice the carrots, celery, and onion. Set aside. TIP: you can find these already diced in most grocery stores and sometimes already in a combined container labeled as Mirepoix!
Open the can of whole peeled tomatoes and break them up either with a fork in a bowl or with your fingers, squeezing them gently to crush and break up. Set aside.
To a preheated skillet, add the diced pancetta and cook down until the fat renders about 5-6 minutes. Then scoop the pancetta out with a slotted spoon or spatula and put into the slow cooker.
To the fat in the pan, add the ground beef and break it up with a spatula. Let the meat sear and get brown, then stir to brown on all sides. When the meat is done cooking, transfer it to the slow cooker.
Next, add the carrots, celery, and onion to the skillet. Add a little olive oil if needed. Saute for 5 minutes until they start to sweat and soften.
Finally to the Slow cooker add: The demi-glace, tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, Italian Seasoning, Bay Leaf, Salt, and Pepper to taste.
Now...this is the point that you can cover and place the entire slow cooker pot in the fridge until the day you want to cook it OR just cook it now for 6-8 hours. If you cook on a Sunday you can either eat it or save it in the fridge and reheat it on the stove during the week.
Whether you do this step day(s) ahead or a weeknight morning for later that night, simply place the slow cooker pot back in the cooker and then set it to either 6 hours or 8 hours, depending on how long you will be gone. Both will be just fine.
Cook the Fettuccine according to package instructions. If you went with the Gluten-Free fettuccine, as I did, be sure to really drain and then rinse the cooked pasta. GF pasta can be very starchy and sticky, so you want to rinse the excess starch off before adding it to your bolognese.
When the bolognese is done, give it a stir and then add the cooked pasta and gently stir to combine. Toss in the fresh chopped parsley, leaving some for garnish.
Plate a heaping scoop of the pasta and bolognese onto plates. Freshly shave or grate parmesan onto the plated fettuccine with Bolognese, add one final sprinkle of fresh parsley and Enjoy!!