Salted Chocolate Coconut Bars.
This Slow Cooker Vodka Bolognese Pasta is the perfect family friendly meal. Slow cooked Italian style Bolognese sauce with a mix of beef, veggies, sweet tomatoes, herbs, and vodka. Serve this sauce over your favorite cut of pasta and top with a generous amount of parmesan cheese for a dinner that everyone will love. This is a great pasta to serve any night of the week, or for your next holiday dinner party. Tip…a side of crusty bread is always a good idea!
This time next week we will all be gearing up to sit down to a turkey filled Thanksgiving dinner. Can you guys believe we’re just one week away? I’m in shock as to how fast time is flying, but trying to enjoy as much of it as I can! Over the next few days our family will slowly be shuffling their way into town. I’m so excited to have all of my brothers back in Colorado for Thanksgiving.
Seeing as though my family is huge, it can be hard to get us all under one roof at the same time. But I’m feeling thankful that holidays have always been a priority for us and we will all be together. Also thankful that my younger brother, Red showed up a few days ahead of everyone else. He’s on the go non-stop, chasing the snow, and always having fun, so it’s nice to have him home.
Plus, Red was the sole inspiration for this vodka Bolognese, so you can all thank him for this DELICIOUS recipe.
For the last year or so, every time I’ve seen Red he’s requested Bolognese. It’s his favorite.
Red is constantly traveling, making his way all over the states, across Europe, and even into Asia. Somehow, he’s still not the most adventurous eater (though he’s getting so much better). Whenever he travels he says he just eats Bolognese because it’s always good. It’s hard to argue that one…
I mean, slow cooked red sauce? Pasta? Cheese?
Yeah, it’s a combo that really never gets old.
What’s funny though? I don’t have a traditional Bolognese sauce on HBH. SO, when I heard he was flying into Colorado this week, I quickly switched up my plans and decided to make him Bolognese. I did not regret this choice. This recipe is so good, it’s easy, and it’s one that everyone should have in their back pocket.
Like a lot of Italian based sauces, this one starts out with the basic, onion, carrot, celery combo. I also added shallots for a bit more flavor…and because I’m honestly just obsessed with them.
Cook up the veggies in a skillet, add the meat, and brown it all over. This is essential. You want to get a caramelization on the meat before adding it to the slow cooker. Don’t skip this step.
Here are my two secrets to making a good Bolognese sauce…one that’s better than any other on the internet:
One, I like to use a mix of ground beef and spicy Italian sausage. The sausage adds a deep layer of flavor. It really makes the sauce so delicious and gives it just a touch of heat. You can certainly use ground beef in place of the sausage, but I do recommend giving the sausage a try.
Two, vodka. Yes, VODKA. Now I want to start by staying that if you do not drink, I totally understand. In this case, just swap the vodka for chicken broth, beef broth, or even just water. That will be totally fine and your sauce will still be great.
BUT, if you do drink or use alcohol for cooking, you must add vodka to your sauce. It’s a game changer. The vodka adds a sharp bite that helps to balance out the sweetness of the tomatoes. When used in small amounts, the vodka will boost and intensify aroma of the sauce. The key is slow simmering the sauce, which will release its flavors and cooks out the alcohol. So yes, this is safe to serve to kids!
You see why this Bolognese is better than any other.
And the best part? You can make the sauce in the morning and slow cook it all day long. Perfect for busy days and easy holiday entertaining.
I will for sure be remaking this next week when all of our family is here for Thanksgiving. In addition to my immediate family, we’ll also be hosting my aunt, uncle, their 3 kids, my grandpa and his girlfriend…and of course anyone else who happens to show up. There are always last-minute add ons to Gerard holiday dinners.
This pasta will be the perfect dinner to serve on a Wednesday night.
If you make this vodka bolognese be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Watch the How To Video:
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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Ugh just to die for! Felt like I was eating at a fancy Italian restaurant all from the comfort of my own home. I love a good crock pot recipe and just like the rest of your recipes, this one did not disappoint! Also so easy and completely foolproof. Threw everything in the crock pot the morning I left for work and came home to the most amazing, comforting meal. THANK YOU!
Happy Wednesday!! I appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear it was tasty! xx
I want to make this and have some leftover coconut milk to use up. I’m nervous about using it though. Does it make it taste coconut-y or just make it creamy?
Also I am asking for one of your cook books for my birthday and I can’t decide between Every Day or Super simple. lol! Which one should I pick?! 😉
Thanks for all your great recipes 🙂
The coconut milk will make this creamy! You might get a slight coconut flavor just fyi:) I would go with HBH Everyday!! I hope you love this recipe! xx
Would you recommend apple cider vinegar or chicken broth as a substitute for the vodka?
I would use chicken broth in place of the vodka. Please let me know if you give the recipe a try, I hope you love it! xx
Another awesome dinner! Wow! I cooked this on the stovetop and used heavy cream instead of milk and made fresh homemade pasta. This came out absolutely amazing. My husband had another helping at 11pm he loved it so much! Thanks again! Definitely adding this it our rotation.
Happy Monday! Thanks a lot for trying this recipe out, I am so excited to hear that it was a hit! xx