Bolognese Style Sloppy Joes


Sloppy Joes remind me of being a kid. Remember those “manwich’s” from a can, just add beef? On hamburger buns?

This is a very grown up version, made with italian sausage, a slow simmering sauce and served on a quick homemade rosemary, garlic focaccia, with shaved parmesan cheese. I could eat it every week. It’s just that yummy. It also comes together pretty quickly for a weeknight meal, the longest part is the one-hour focaccia, so you can always skip that and serve the bolognese sauce on store-bought bread.

For the Sloppy Joes

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb sweet italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 tsps Worchestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Shaved parmesan cheese (or whatever cheese you like)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add the sausage and cook, stirring often to break up the sausage. Add the onion, bell pepper, carrot and garlic. Cook stirring often until the sausage is cooked through and veggies are soft.

Add the wine and cook over medium-high hear, stirring often until the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the crushed tomatoes, brown sugar, Worchestershire sauce, salt and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 15 minutes.

For the Rosemary-Garlic Focaccia

  • 3/4 cup warm water (heat in the microwave for 10 seconds and stir)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast (1/4 oz package like Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise)
  • 5 1/2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

Place the warm water and sugar in the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attached (you can use a hand mixer if that’s what you have). Stir well to combine. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir just a little. Let stand until foamy – about 5 minutes.

Turn the mixer on low and add 1 cup of the flour and 3/4 tsp of salt. Mix just till combined.

Add 2 tbsps of the olive oil, garlic, parmesan and 1/2 tsp of the fresh rosemary.

Gradually add 1/2 cup of the remaining flour, then just enough of the remaining 1/4 cup until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl (you may not need it all).

Preheat the oven to 200. Grease a cast iron skillet with 1/2 tbsp of the olive oil.

Lightly flour a surface, remove the dough and place onto the surface. Flour the top and then gently shape the dough into a flat disk and place in the skillet.

Gently press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan and then about 1″ up the sides. Cover with a clean dish towel, turn off the oven, then place the skillet in over for 20 minutes to rise.

Remove the skillet from the oven and increase heat to 400.

Brush additional olive oil over the top of the bread. Sprinkle with salt. Make a few indentions into the top of the bread with your thumb.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack until slightly cooled.

Cut the focaccia into four pieces and top with the bolognese and cheese!

The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in it’s evocation of innocence and delight.

M.F.K. Fisher

Published by Elizabeth Escalante

Freckles. Food. Travel. Dachshunds.

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