Nothing says comfort like a hearty plate of bolognese paired with a Brunello. I am convinced that I was Italian in a former life.  Italian wine and food have always been a big passion of mine. My husband was never a big red wine fan until I introduced him to a 1997 Brunello di Montalcino on our third date. He has been hooked ever since! Brunello di Montalcino is one of Italy’s most revered wines. It hails from Tuscany and is made exclusively with the Sangiovese grape. Brunello’s are elegant age-worthy wines that are beaming with aromas and flavors of red fruit, violet and earth, leather with a hint of anise and mushroom.  These wines have high levels of tannins and acidity that make it a great partner with food and also give it tremendous aging potential. The Italian law mandates that wine makers age Brunello for a minimum of 5 years before its release. As for the bolognese, this is a great dish to make on a Sunday afternoon or whenever you have a few hours to let the sauce fully develop. This is my spin on the classic recipe. Bon Appetito!
Recipe: Bolognese (Serves 4-6)

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
3 ribs celery
3 medium carrots
1 cup Portobello mushrooms
6 cloves of garlic
2 tsp. truffle salt or sea salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
½ tsp. nutmeg
2 bay leaves
Few sprigs of fresh thyme & rosemary (tie w/kitchen string)
1 ½ pound ground sirloin
1 ½ pound sweet Italian sausage
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups red wine (Chianti, Montelpulciano d’ Abruzzo or Centine from Banfi are nice options)
1 cup milk
1 – 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
¼ cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano
8 oz ricotta (for garnish)
½ cup julienned basil (for garnish)

Combine large diced onion, carrot, celery, mushroom and garlic and put in food processer for about 10-15 seconds until the vegetables are a finely grated.
Add 2 tbsp. of oil to a dutch oven over a medium heat and sauté vegetables for 10-15 minutes until translucent and slightly golden.  Make sure all the liquid is evaporated.
Once the vegetables reach the desired color and consistency add the salt, pepper, crushed red pepper, Italian seasoning, nutmeg & bay leaves.
Add ground sirloin and sausage and let brown for 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently.  Make sure you get a nice deep brown color. Practice patience, this is where all of the flavor comes from.
Add tomato paste and cook 2-3 minutes.
Add rosemary & thyme sprigs, sugar followed by red wine. Scrape up all the bits and deglaze pan.  Let reduce about 5 minutes.
Add 1 cup milk and let reduce about 5 minutes.
Add crushed tomatoes and simmer for 2 hours.
Before serving remove fresh herb sprigs & bay leaves
Add ¼ cup heavy cream and 1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano and stir until combined.
Serve over your favorite pasta.  I recommend pappardelle or tagliatelle pasta.
Add a tbsp. of fresh ricotta, Parmigiano Reggiano, basil and a drizzle of good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil.