Friday, March 9, 2012

Classic Bolognese Sauce

Friday evening.  My favorite time of the week.  Gots the whole weekend ahead of me.  Cocktail time Friday night.  Saturday is for chores and then a social gathering or a table for two.  The best part is bookending my weekend- a solid few hours carved out on Sunday for some much needed kitchen time.  If you love to cook, then naturally you want to do it as much as possible, and after a few days of not doing so I become clearly irritated and impatient with my state of being.  Kitchen time is a pain in the ass for some, it's healing for others like myself.  Some like to paint to soothe the self, others like to garden, certain individuals like to run, and a few like to chop onions.  There are not many greater pleasures in life than spending a few hours creating a delicious homemade meal.

The all-day cooking Sundays might be for making stocks, involve braising meats for hours, grill-smoking baby back ribs, roasting a brined chicken, or making a slowly cooked tomato sauce.  Last Sunday was spent building a classic bolognese.  The final result was amazing due to the long simmer of simple ingredients- ground meat from a few different animals, milk and wine, the acidic touch of tomato and simple seasoning with S&P.  These flavors meld beautifully during the cooking process creating an awesome sauce ready for a myriad of uses.  To enjoy immediately, make according to the directions below and add 1 lb cooked linguine and 1/2 C of the pasta cooking water, a couple TBs of butter to enhance the silky sauce, mix that all up and serve with freshly grated Parmesan.  Or, let cool and keep in ziplock bags, 2 days in the fridge or up to a few months in the freeze.   Want to do both? Double the recipe and increase the evaporation time for the milk and wine to about 25-30 minutes, and simmer the sauce for 4 hrs.

Besides linguine with this classic bolognese sauce, you could layer turn it into a delicious lasagna, as pictured below with some fresh baby spinach.  I'm pretty sure any other pasta would also love to be smothered in this yummy meat sauce.  It's so good you could also just eat it by the spoonful.

Classic Bolognese Sauce
4 servings

2 TB unsalted butter
1/2 medium onion, finely diced (bout 3 TB)
1 small carrot, finely diced (bout 2 TB)
1 small celery stalk, finely diced (bout 2 TB)
1/2 ts kosher
1/4 ts freshly cracked black pepper
4 oz ground beef, 80% lean
4 oz ground pork
4 oz ground veal
1 C whole milk
1 C dry white wine
1 28 oz can whole tomatoes, chopped fine with juice reserved

Fire up your dutch oven (large ceramic pot) over medium heat and melt the butter and oil mixture.  Throw in the veg and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Season with S&P, then add the meat and brown while stirring and breaking up mixture, for 3-4 minutes until cooked through.

Stir in the milk, adjust heat to a simmer and cook until the milk liquid has evaporated and only fats remain, about 15 minutes.  Add the wine and again cook off the liquid, about 12 minutes.  Have the tomatoes and juice then join the party at low heat, keep to a gentle simmer with just a bubble or three breaking the surface.  Cook for 3 hours, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.  Season to taste with S&P. 

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