This is a long process with a lot of dishes, so pick a weekend and have a good time. The Slow Cooker Bolognese sauce is from this site http://littlespicejar.com/slow-cooker-bolognese-sauce/. The cheese tortellini were the ones by Rana in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.
Start by bringing a large stockpot of water to a boil. While the water is heating, slice an “x” on the top and bottom of about 2 1/2 lbs fresh tomatoes (I used Roma and the “x” makes them easy to peel). Add the tomatoes and allow them to boil for 15 minutes. Drain and put the tomatoes in an ice bath to stop the cooking. NOTE: if you want to skip this part, just grab an extra can of San Marzano tomatoes.
While those are boiling (or while you are waiting for the water to boil), dice up 1 medium onion, 2 stalks of celery, 2 medium carrots, and 3 tbsp garlic (minced, I used about 6 cloves). In a large Dutch oven, heat 3 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add onions, celery, and carrots. Cook 8-10 minutes till softened. Drain excess grease, leaving 1 tbsp. Add garlic and 1/4 C tomato paste, and cook for 30 seconds. Increase heat to medium high, and add 2 1/2 lbs ground beef, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (more for more heat), and 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar. Allow the meat to cook and brown, breaking it up as it cooks.
While the meat is cooking, peel the tomatoes by hand. It’s actually pretty easy.
Drain the meat, then add it to the crock pot. Add the tomatoes you just peeled (while is fine), 1 28oz can of San Mariano tomatoes, 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes, 2 bay leaves, 1-2 Parmesan rinds (the part you cut off and don’t use is great for flavor), and a big pinch each of salt and pepper. Cover and turn to low for 8 hours.
If you want to make bread, start it about 10 minutes before the pasta. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice in half long ways, and then butter both pieces all the way to the edges. Put on a baking sheet, and into the oven for 5-10 minutes (till the butter is melted into the bread.
When you have a few minutes left on the. Read, heat water in a medium sauce pan to a boil. Add the rana tortellini and cook for about 3 minutes. They will separate on their own. Chop some fresh parsley for garnish while it cooks. Turn the oven to broil hi and keep an eye on the bread. Drain the pasta and then get ready to serve. The. Read will be done when it is a nice golden brown across the top. Remove from the oven and slice.
Serve up the tortellini, topped with the Bolognese sauce, garnished with chopped parsley and fresh grated Parmesan cheese. There bread is a great side for this. Enjoy!
Note: this freezes and reheats well.
Note #2: I prefer a saucier sauce so when we reheated it, we added a jar of marinara sauce which made it better, but it was still good prior to this.