There is a famous restaurant in New York called Maialino (little pig) whose pork ragout is their signature dish. I was poring over the recipe, a two-day endeavor, which ended up tacked to my board, next to a 3 hour ratatouille. I will get around to them, eventually, maybe on a rainy day because, at heart, I love spending my afternoons  chopping and overseeing pots and pans. But, let’s face it, making dinner day in and day out is usually not a task that can be started 6 hours in advance.

I will admit I balked at the e-mail my friend AM sent me after reading my post on meat sauce. “Will you stop talking to me if I admit that I have a microwave recipe for meat sauce that I think is great?”. It turns out the recipe was passed on to her from a lady from Bologna so I was prepared to give it a try.

I defrosted some ground beef which had taken up residence in my freezer and followed the recipe as it was sent to me. AM suggested adding canned tomatoes and decreasing the amount of water but I figured the water was meant to keep the meat moist and I stuck to it. The bay leaf added some flavor to the sauce which, I have to admit, wasn’t bad and, in a pinch, especially if to be used as an ingredient for a more complex dish, could definitely do. What the sauce lacked, though, was the depth of the ingredients cooked together for a long time thus slightly caramelizing.

And no, AM, I will definitely keep on talking to you even if the microwave is the least used appliance in my kitchen. It was glad to be used for once.




1 Carrot, finely chopped

1 Celery Stalk, finely chopped

1 Small Onion, finely chopped

1 Bay Leaf

1/4 # Ground Beef

2 T Tomato Paste

2 C Hot Water

2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper to taste


  1. Heat the carrot, celery and onion with the olive oil in the microwave on high, covered, for 3 minutes.
  2. Remove the container and add the beef, broken up with a fork. Cover and heat in the microwave, covered, for 3 minutes on high.
  3. Add the tomato paste, 2 cups of water (or enough water to cover the meat), salt, pepper and bay leaf. Cover and cook in the microwave on medium for 30 minutes. Stir a couple of times. Taste and adjust seasoning. Remove bay leaf. Serve on pasta or use for lasagna, beef moussaka etc.



Filed under cooking


  1. Anna Maria

    thanks for trying dear Claudia,
    actually I didn’t expected you to like it, but it can be used in case of hurry and to be honest it takes more or less the same time to prepare a pre-cooked dish.

    Anyway, i do agree with you, the traditional recipe has a taste that takes you near to heaven…


    P.S. i have some other mo recipes… even a chocolate cake…

  2. Thank you so much for the recipe – you are a live safer. I am totally a foodie – however I will relocate within a couple of days, and my gas cylinder didn’t made it. So the last days, I just ate sandwiches – and yeah – microwave potatoes [they taste splendid – I would only have a microwave in my kitchen for making potatoes – they taste so intensive – like baked potatoes – in not much longer than 5 minutes!].

    However I tweaked a bit the recipe – I don’t like stock cubes – but sometimes there are emergencies – so I put one beef cube into the mix. I also used white wine / canned tomatoes instead of water – and concentrated balsamic vinegar to give more caramel’y sweetness.
    Other “advancements”: grated nutmeg, few chili flakes and then two secret: little bit anchovy paste and a small piece of star anise, which boosts the meatiness…

    I would not prefer this microwave bolognese, if my cooking range is working: my pressure cooker is perfect for a fast and tasty sauce [my favorite preparation] – but in any emergency situation, I would do it again. It is delicious and even have a deep and meaty taste.

  3. Dominick, that sounds really good! I am glad I could help although the recipe came from a trusted friend. I always look at microwaves with slight suspicions but now you made me want to try potatoes your way! Good luck with your move.

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