Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sunday's Bolognese

I thought it fitting to start with one of my favourite's recipes. For those of you unfamiliar with Bolognese sauce, here is all you need to know: classic Italian; rich, hearty meat sauce; slightly creamy; gets its unique flavour from wine. Problem is: it typically takes 2.5 to 3 h to make, and that's just too long. Martha has managed to condense the recipe to 1.5 h, without sacrificing taste. I have however discovered a  shortcut that will save you time and possibly a trip to the emergency room. Here it is:

While I pride myself on my knife skills, even I admit that there's no safe way to chop a carrot, and for this recipe, thy need to be finely chopped. (They should almost melt into the sauce.) The trick: buy a bag of julienned carrots, measure the right amount, gather the matchstick-size pieces into bundles, and chop as usual with fingers facing away from the blade. (Do as I say, not as I do.)

That potential landmine averted, here's the recipe:


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped (3 cups)
3 carrots, finely chopped (1 cup)
6 cloves garlic , minced
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1/4 cup tomato paste
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup dry white wine
1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes in puree
1 cup milk
12 oz spaghetti
Finely grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


Make sauce: In a Dutch oven (or 5-quart saucepan), heat oil over high heat. Add onions, carrots, and garlic; cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 2 min. Add beef and pork; cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 min. Stir in tomato paste; cook 1 min. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Add wine and tomatoes. Bring sauce to a simmer; cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 1 hour. Add milk; simmer until completely absorbed, about 15 min more. Season again with salt and pepper.

When sauce is almost done, cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente, according to package instructions; drain. Toss pasta with half the meat sauce; save remaining sauce for next day. Serve sprinkled with cheese.




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