This is a hearty, chunky bolognese sauce recipe packed with sausage, mushrooms, ground beef, onions, carrots, basil, oregano and a just a little red wine. It’s easy to put together and makes enough to last for days. Good for freezing, good for breakfast, good for making your home smell a little bit more like Naples. If you’re into that. Michael prefers it when my home smells a little bit more like North Carolina, but that only happens when I make pulled pork.
This recipe comes from my friend Samantha J., who’s sweet and pretty and has a necklace made out of little metal gears and cogs which I hope she’ll let me wear the day I’m buried.
I asked Samantha J. if I could take a picture of the two of us to post with the recipe, and I gave her photo approval. That was a mistake. I forgot that when I take a picture with someone else and give them photo approval, they don’t determine the photo’s success or failure based on how I look.
So we had to take three. The third is below. I think she likes this one but just to be safe I made a deal with her: “Let me post this picture and I’ll post FIVE embarrassing pictures of myself to go with it!” Looking back, I don’t think I can actually call it a deal, since I just sorta told her that’s what was gonna happen because I wanted to eat my peanut butter and banana bruschetta.
I think Samantha is a fox all the time, but I know how we humans get. One day I went through all the family albums and burned every childhood picture of me wearing my mother’s 1960’s waist-long curly brown wig that made me look a little like a caveman, a little like Loretta Lynn, and a lot like one of the back-up dancers on Laugh-In.
So you won’t find that picture included below. You will some real jiffies though! After all, I did make a promise to Samantha J., which I better keep if I ever want to get my hands on that necklace. So please peruse me in five moments of teeth-gnashing embarrassment, presented in random order, and have yourself a good laugh at my expense.
And when you’re done, definitely grab yourself a pot and make this sauce recipe, because that Smantha J. can cook!
Gary’s Most Embarrassing Photo #1 – At the time my mother took this picture, I was convinced she wanted to celebrate my foray into the world of dramatic arts and preserve it for the ages. Come thirty years, I was certain we’d all look back on this costume and exclaim, “My God! The pageantry!” Instead, all I can remember about those bed sheets now is if you barfed on them just right, you wouldn’t be able to find it afterwards.
Gary’s Most Embarrassing Photo #2 – I’m not exactly embarrassed by this picture as it the first indication of the striking physique that was ahead for the world to admire and envy. But this picture does remind me of the time I was staying at my friend Lucy’s house and the guy she was regularly having sex with called, wanting to stop by for a little late night “pajammie whammy.” She got all dolled up, but when he knocked at her door I squealed, jumped up from the couch, tore off all my clothes and ran to the front hallway. I bent my naked legs at the knee and turned them sideways, pressing my hand against my hip like a 1920s flapper girl. “Let him in!” I sang out enchantingly, “I’m just mad about the boy!” Then to add a little more glitz, I started cleaning my non-existant facial whiskers with my wrist.
I’ll never forget how someone as normally ballsy and composed as Lucy suddenly crumbled into a mass of desperate pleading. “Gary, no!” she begged, “Don’t… do… this to me!” But I didn’t listen. Instead, I just altered my pose by tucking my genitals between my thighs and delicately extending my arms up and out, like that Silence of the Lambs killer.
Eventually I let Lucy chase my bare ass back to the couch, where I slid under a chemise blanket and made like I was asleep while she and the guy passed me on their way to the bedroom. The lesson to be learned here is that I have no shame and love to get naked when it’s least appropriate… so be forewarned potential employers, dental hygienists, and unsuspecting elevator companions.
Gary’s Most Embarrassing Photo #3
Mom: “Gary, it’s Saturday! Doesn’t going outside and playing with the neighbor kids sound like fun?”
Gary: “No way, mom. I’m gonna put on my crown and your crushed velvet Christmas cape and play the Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook all day! Who wants to harmonize on “June is Bustin’ Out All Over!”??
Gary’s Most Embarrassing Photo #4 – What child in the 1970s was able to resist ice cream temptingly packaged in a rust orange and brown carton? Is it even ice cream? I’ve seen cartons like that on sale at Alamo Hay and Grain. But clearly, whatever was in that box, sugary treat or hormonally-enhanced alfalfa block, there was no question it was heading into my mouth on the long and winding route to my stylish rubber pants!
And is that an aerosol can my parents have stored next to where we kept the food? Is that the reason I pee out my belly button?
Gary’s Most Embarrassing Photo #5 – I have no recall of this photo, but I have to, HAVE TO assume someone off-camera is telling me to pose like I’m the adopted daughter of Joan Crawford.
One time an ex-boyfriend said to me, “I wonder if your mother has any concerns or worries that she did something to make you gay,” to which I replied, “Well she’d better, because it’s probably all her fault!” And here’s the long-awaited photographic evidence.
No, friends, I am not actually a contestant in the 1975 Miss HoneyBee Pageant. I’m just a poor boy in striped pants, aiming to please. To this day, I’m basically still just a poor boy in striped pants, aiming to please.
I hope all this makes Samantah J. feel better about her picture. In fact, I hope it makes everyone feel a little better about “that picture” we all know is out there… the one where if there’d been just a second’s more notice, a few more minutes in the sun that morning, or a light bulb with just ten more watts, we could have looked like a star, instead of looking like someone destined to be snickered at once the word invented #ThrowbackThursday.
Samantha J’s Bolognese Sauce
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 1 container portobello or cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey, sauteed and drained
- 3 sweet Italian sausages, removed from casings and sauteed with the ground meat
- 1 32-ounce can and 1 12-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 can tomato paste
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups red wine (Sam J. usually goes with Chianti)
- 2 tsp. oregano
- 1-2 Tbsp. fresh chopped basil
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Saute first 4 ingredients in olive oil coated stock pot until onions are translucent. Add tomatoes, half the red wine, and all the meat. Simmer until it begins to reduce. Add paste, herbs and more wine. Allow to continue to gradually reduce and let simmer for 30 minutes until well-thickened.