Review of Chef'd Beef Bolognaise with Parmesan Cheese
When I make a bolognaise at home I'm usually start with a a 4 - 5 hour (minimum) plan. Where the sauce slow simmers all day, combining and blending flavors into a decadent sauce.
So when the Chef'd recipe card suggested that I'd be wrapped up in 45 minutes, I was a bit skeptical. But the reality is, Chef'd put together a pretty damn good bolognaise recipe.
The sauce itself actually did only take about 30 minutes to cook. And admittedly, it didn't have the complexity of my long cooked version...but hell, it only took 30 minutes. The seasoning was good. The texture of the meat and the consistency of the sauce were both good.
This version is actually on the "low/no carb", so the intent, rather than serving this sauce over pasta, is to mix in some chopped zucchini during final few minutes of cooking. Forgoing the pasta is not only good for the low carb/gluten free crowd, but it also cuts way back on the calories. Of course, if you wanted to cook and serve over a bit of your own pasta, that would work great too.
The sauce came with lettuce & a tomato for a side salad. The ingredients where fresh...but the salad was pretty dull - nothing offensive about it; but nothing interesting either.
The ingredients that came where all fresh and tasted good. The portions where good, and I was totally happy with everything that came.
Finally, the cooking directions were well written and easy to understand. I didn't have any issues with how things were described. I probably would have re-ordered just one step, moving the chopping/fully preparing of the salad to the end vs chopping up the lettuce and letting it sit out for 30 minutes while I cooked everything else.
Chef'd did a solid job getting ingredients that where fresh and clean. There wasn't anything that came in the box that wasn't as good, if not better than what I'd get a the grocery store.
All the portions where good, and I don't think I had anything left over or wasted. The box that come included:
- Ground beef
- Parmesan Cheese
- Tomato Sauce
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Garlic clove
- Roma Tomato
- Romain Heart
- Italian Spice Mix
Making the dish
The Chef'd recipe card comes with a nice pretty picture of what the finished dish is supposed to look like. On the other side of the card is some info about the recipe, and the breakdown of 6 steps for cooking the dish. The six steps are:
- Let's Begin - This is the prep work for washing and chopping the ingredients for the bolognaise
- Prepare the ingredients - During this step your chopping the lettuce and tomato for the salad
- Cooking the ground beef - Is what it sounds like!
- Finishing touches - During this step, you add the bolognaise ingredients to the beef and cook them all together to make the sauce
- Tossing the salad - Is getting the dressing on the lettuce and tomato
- Serve and enjoy - is eating it up!
While the directions are not the best I've seen written up, they are clear and certainly get the job done. The only major thing I would change, is the prep for the salad.
During the final minutes of cooking the bolognaise sauce you should have plenty of time to chop the lettuce, tomato and dress the salad. That way you don't need chopped up the lettuce and have it sit around for 40 minutes.
My other critique is the directions don't remind you often enough to season as you go. I am big believer in adding salt and pepper through the process and tasting as you go. Most home cook don't and their food is bland. A few reminders would be welcome.
As I mentioned above, this is not the all day bologaise sauce that your grandmother made. The flavors not nearly as complex, nor is the meat melting away in your mouth.
However, I was really happy with how it did turn out, and I was happy to serve it up to the family. The addition of the zucchini is smart. Adding it at the end of the process, in the large dice, preserved enough texture in the vegetable to provide some contrast - a role the pasta normally have to play.
I did season with salt and pepper as I went along, and think it's probably necessary to add a bit more than the card suggests.
The salad was pretty dull and boring. I would have preferred another ingredient or two...or at least a different vinegar to give it some life. I wouldn't have missed it if it wasn't there.
Chef'd Beef Bolognaise with Parmesan Cheese
Overall, I was really happy with Chef'd Bolognaise, and I'd be happy to order it again. It wasn't hard to cook, and the flavors where good.
My kids missed the lack of pasta, but adding some in would be a snap, and I appreciated forgoing the calories. As well as getting another vegetable on the table.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes!