Bison Bolognese With Figs
Handley’s 2016 Recipe Contest 2nd Place Winner
By: Corey & John of Dripping Springs, Texas
8 oz. dried Mission figs, quartered
2 c Handley Zinfandel, divided
2 T olive oil
2 lbs. ground bison
4 – 6 slices bacon, diced
1 c celery, diced
1 c onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 28-oz can diced San Marzano tomatoes, (both the liquid and the tomatoes)
2 c whole milk
2 T fresh sage, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 T butter
Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated or crumbled gorgonzola
Pappardelle pasta, cooked according to directions on package
Place figs in a bowl and cover with 1 cup Handley Zinfandel for an hour to soften the fruit. Set aside.
In a large heavy-bottom saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat and brown ground bison. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Once browned, remove meat from pan; set aside. Add chopped bacon to pan and sauté over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Add celery, onion and garlic stirring often to prevent sticking and cook for another 3 minutes. Return ground meat to the pan and add remaining 1 cup of Handley Zinfandel along with soaking liquid from figs. Reserve the figs to add later. With a wooden spoon, stir scraping all the brown bits from bottom of the pan. Once the liquid is reduced by half, add tomatoes with juice and milk. Bring to a boil and lower heat to low and simmer sauce partially covered approximately 2 ½ hours stirring occasionally. Add softened figs and fresh sage and continue to cook for another hour. If the sauce starts to stick, add a bit of water. In the end, the sauce should be thick like oatmeal. Just before serving, add butter and adjust seasonings if needed.
Once the pasta is cooked, place in large pasta bowls and ladle the sauce on top. Finish the dish with grated parmesan or crumbled gorgonzola and a sprig of fresh sage.
* Bolognese can be made days ahead. Just reheat adding a little water if necessary.