Bison Bolognese

Bison Bolognese

This Bison Bolognese recipe is one that has been re-worked, re-done, re-photographed about a hundred times over on the blog. It started out as “Not your Momma’s Spaghetti Sauce” because it was an adapted recipe from my very own Momma.

Of course, I put my own twists and spins on it and my Mom insisted hers was always better {it was}. Some things are always just better coming from your Mom. You always want home cooking to taste like your Mom’s. She would use short cuts and I would make everything from scratch.

No matter what we differed on we both bonded over a shared love for cooking. We’d sit together, sip our coffee and watch Food Network together. Laughing about how Giada says “Spaghetti” or how Guy’s spray tanner is getting a little too neon. These were special times we shared.

My Mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer Stage 2 in August 2013. She battled, she fought hard, doing everything to ensure this was just a chapter in her life and it never defined her. She found remission that following Spring. As the flowers bloomed she did as well. Her energy was back, her hair, her scars were healing and there was a new hope.

May 2014, I will never forget the phone call. My Mom, strong, brave, a faithful woman was diagnosed with Acute Ampullary Cancer Stage 4. Unphased she dove right back into treatment. This cancer never slowed her down.

It’s a tough time for me to think about because I was in San Francisco and she was in Montana. A thousand miles apart. We would spend hours talking on the phone, she always wanted to know what was going on in my life and we would share the recipes that we were currently making. She would always ask me questions like “What do I do with Eggplant” or “How do I prepare Fennel?” She listened and took notes the way a Mother does. Always encouraging me and reassuring me to stay in California and keep pursuing my dreams.

My Mom lost her battle in September 2015. I spent the last few months with her sitting with her, sipping coffee, and watching Food Network. Stocking her fridge with dishes she craved. One of the last things I cooked for her was her Spaghetti Bolognese. 

As her Heaven Day approaches and with every day that passes I am constantly reminded of her. Her faith, love for others, and the unwavering support for her family. My Mom left a legacy of love.

Legacy of Love

If Lisa were here right now she would say, “Ride your bike until you feel the wind in your hair; laugh until your sides hurt and even then get in some more; hold your kids tight and read them a book; teach the world something new; stick up for the underdog; make a good campfire and enjoy the night; root for the home team like the Montana Griz or the Fort Benton Longhorns; say ‘hi’ to your neighbor; don’t be afraid to be sentimental; smell the lilacs and the peonies! Embrace the beauty of life and love.”

Bison Bolognese

11 September, 2016
: 8 Servings
: 30 min
: 1 hr
: 1 hr 30 min
: Easy

The secret to this sauce is ground bison, good fatty pork sausage, brown sugar and lots of red wine! Brown sugar adds a sweet addition that balances out all the flavors and acidity in the tomatoes and makes it a touch more savory. With any tomato sauce the flavors improve with time. Cooking it low and slow all day makes this spaghetti the best you've ever had! Place in the crock-pot for an all day simmer and fill your home with comforting Italian fragrance. Freeze the leftovers to create a starter for your next sauce and just keep adding to it every time you crave some good spaghetti.


  • 6 whole Plum Tomatoes, quartered
  • 10 ounce package Grape Tomatoes or Cherry Tomatoes
  • 1 head Garlic, cloves separated and skin on
  • 1 pound Ground Bison
  • 1/2 pound Italian Pork Sausage
  • 4 tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
  • 1 whole Onion, chopped
  • 2 large Carrots, diced
  • 1 {8 ounce} package Baby Bella Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1/4 cup Tomato Paste
  • 1 cup Red Wine
  • 1 teaspoon Brown Sugar
  • Kosher Salt and Ground Black Pepper, for seasoning
  • Parmesan Cheese, grated, for garnish
  • Basil, chopped for garnish
  • Parsley, chopped for garnish
  • Step 1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the chopped plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and garlic on a baking sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove garlic and allow to cool before removing the skin. Place the roasted tomatoes and roasted garlic in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside.
  • Step 2 In a large heavy bottomed pot heat the olive oil over medium high heat, cook the bison and sausage together over medium high heat, use a wooden spoon to break it up and stir until browned. Drain into a colander and set aside. In the same pot add 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat and add the onions and carrots. Cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes until browned. Add the Italian seasoning, tomato paste and season with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Stir together until seasonings are fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the red wine and deglaze your pot and stir until the wine and tomato paste is combined and thickened. Simmer to reduce the wine for 5 minutes.
  • Step 3 Add the tomato and garlic puree into the pot and stir to combine. Bring to a slight simmer and add the bison and sausage back to the pot. Add the brown sugar and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer sauce for up to a hour. Serve with spaghetti or pasta of your choice. Garnish with Parmesan, chopped basil and chopped parsley.

Life is short, so eat pasta and drink wine.

Bison Bolognese

Savor and Enjoy!

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