Friday, July 7, 2006
Bolognese Pasta Sauce
Pasta Bolognese is actually not something I grew up eating. My father?s sauce had whole pieces of meat cooked in it (short ribs, meatballs, and Italian sausage), and I sort of looked down on sauces with ground meat in them, in the same vein as those who put green pepper in their sauce. (Blecchh). I much preferred the ?runny? style that Dad and my aunt called ?tomato gravy.? Then, I married someone of northern Italian descent, and began watching FoodTV incessantly. I still never ordered Bolognese at a restaurant, because I?m always trying something that seems a bit more ?special.? However, Chris and I went to an Italian restaurant in Libertyville last Valentine?s Day, and the meat sauce was screaming my name so loud I wondered if others could hear. Mmm. Good stuff.
I made this recipe for a dinner party, and I didn?t allow enough cooking time, and we didn?t eat until about 9 pm. It takes a couple of hours (DON?T skimp on the cook time), but it is really simple and doesn?t require much supervision (I had several drinks before it reached completion and it still came out well). I think it was well worth the wait, and it freezes and reheats beautifully. This recipe (and enjoy this, it is a REAL recipe and you won?t see those here that often!) is from the Italian Cooking Encyclopedia ? a beautiful book that I?m pretty sure my mother-in-law bought us. Pictures for every recipe! (Note to Rachel Ray ? you need more pictures in your cookbooks).
2 Tblesp butter
4 Tblesp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 Tblesp. pancetta or unsmoked bacon, finely chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
12 oz. lean ground beef
salt & pepper to taste
2/3 cup red wine
? cup milk
1 x 14 oz. can plum tomatoes, chopped, with their juice
1 Tblesp. tomato paste
1 bay leaf
? tsp. fresh thyme leaves
Heat the butter and oil in a heavy saucepan or earthenware pot. Add the onion, and cook over moderate heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the pancetta, and cook until the onion is translucent. Stir in the carrot, celery and garlic. Cook 3-4 minutes more.
Add the beef, and crumble it into the vegetables with a fork. Stir until the meat loses its red color. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour in the wine, and raise the heat slightly, and cook until the liquid evaporates. Add the milk, and cook until it evaporates. The book says these take a few minutes, but it took about ten each for me (I had doubled the recipe).
Stir in the tomatoes with their juice, and the herbs and tomato paste. Bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered for 1 ? to 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Remove the bay leaf and correct the seasoning before serving. Garnish with fresh basil or chopped Italian parsely, and plenty of parmesan cheese! The sauce that comes out isn't very "tomatery..." although I made the pictured batch with too much tomato paste (accidente), and it still came out tasty.
I pretty much always use ground turkey meat, but in this recipe, you?ll regret it. It just ain?t the same. Use the beef. Shown served on aneletti pasta (like they use in Spaghetti-O?s) as leftovers ? but excellent on tagliatelle (traditional), pappardelle, fettucini or other broad-noodle pasta.