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Family Favorites: Spaghetti Bolognese + Bruna Grimaldi Camilla Barolo 2016 #ItalianFWT

Here we are at the final #ItalianFWT event of 2021. Where did this year go? And it's the final month of our exploration of three big Bs of Italy. In October, Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm kicked us off with a focus on Brunello when I offered Riso Venere Nero + La Palazzetta Brunello di Montalcino 2016. In November, Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles turned our eyes towards Barberesco; and I shared Risotto ai Tre Funghi, Rosticciana al Forno, + Fontanafredda Silver Label Barbaresco 2015

The December #ItalianFWT topic is Barolo with Li of The Wining Hour. If you are reading this early enough, feel free to jump in our Twitter chat on Saturday, December 4th at 8am Pacific. Follow the hashtag #ItalianFWT and be sure to add that to anything you tweet so we can see it. Here's the line-up of the articles about Barolo...

In My Glass

Barolo is a red wine produced in the Piedmont region of Italy made from the Nebbiolo grape. Nebbiolo is a small, thin-skinned grape varietal that's generally high in acid and tannins; the resulting wine is usually rich, full-bodied and carries that acidity and tannins with it. It is definitely one of my favorites.

For this event, I am featuring a 2016 Barolo, the Bruna Grimaldi Camilla Barolo 2016. Yes, I did buy it for the label, initially. I rarely see my name in print on anything, but it is more common in Italy. However, it is a great wine regardless of its label.

Camilla is the name of a vineyard in Grinzane Cavour that is farmed by Bruna Grimaldi and her family. These particular vines are 40 years old, but the estate was started over 50 years ago when Bruna's grandfather planted the area. Now Bruna and her husband, Franco Fiorino, who are both trained oenologists have increased the family holdings and truly believe that good wine begins in the vineyard. 

This particular expression of the Nebbiolo varietal is wildly complex with floral notes and hints of pepper. Think roses and spices. In addition to its impressive depth, it also boasts elegant restraint. It's silky with a nice structure. And it had the tell-tale brick hue that I love about Barolo. It is deceptively subdued to the eye with a definitive punch on the palate.

Most of the time, since Nebbiolo isn't dwarfed by acid, I often pair with long-braised meats in a tomato sauce. In this case, I went with a family favorite: spaghetti bolognese.

On My Plate

'Spaghetti Bolognese' is a pretty common fixture on Italian menus around the world, but ragù alla bolognese - a slowly-cooked meat-based sauce that's typical of the city of Bologna - is usually used to dress flat pasta such as tagliatelle or pappardelle. Still tossing spaghetti noodles in the rich meat sauce is one of our family favorites, so I go with it!

And I love how the techniques of sautéing and braising render this sauce so delicious and rich.

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound beef, cubed (I used can use really any cut of meat because it braises so long that it will be tender)
  • 1 pounds ground beef
  • 1 cup onion, peeled and diced
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 cups broth (I used beef broth only, but you can swap in some wine or water, too)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup thinly sliced basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup semi-dried tomatoes (optional)
  • freshly ground salt, as needed
  • freshly ground pepper, as needed

  • cooked pasta (I used spaghetti for this sauce)
  • parmesan for serving

Heat the oil in a large, dutch oven. Add the ground beef into the pot. brown until the meat is cooked through and the fat is rendered. Add in the beef cubes and sear the cubes in the rendered ground beef fat. Cook on each side for 3 to 5 minutes - until a nice brown begins to appear. Add the onions and garlic to the pot. Let them cook until the onion is translucent and beginning to caramelize. Add in the carrots and celery. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.

Pour in the broth or combination of liquid that you're using. Stir in the bay leaves, thyme, basil, parsley, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Let the meat braise for 3 to 4 hours - longer is fine, if you need to. You can leave the beef in cubes or shred the meat. 

Once the beef is tender. Stir in the semi-dried tomatoes. Remove the cover and turn up the heat to reduce the sauce to your desired thickness. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

For Serving
To serve, mix some of the ragu in with your pasta. Portion out your pasta into individual servings. Spoon more sauce over the top. Serve immediately. You can grate parmesan over the top, if you like; we always do!

That's a wrap for the Italian Food Wine Travel bloggers' 2021 events. Phew! What a fun parade of great food and amazing wines. Looking forward to 2022...I am hosting the January event. We'll be changing things up with a movie night and wine pairings. Read my invitation.


  1. You hit the nail on the head with this pairing and spaghetti bolognese. I bet it was perfect. Now I want to try this together.

  2. Nothing like a “real” bolognese. Love that the bottle had your name. Sometimes you have to make these type of purchases 😀.


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