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Thursday, November 10, 2011

When In Rome...

Order bolognese when you see it on the menu. Trust me, it's life-changing. Given my opinion on bolognese in Rome, you can imagine my surprise when I saw that Table + Teaspoon (a cooking blog I'd all but given up on ever posting again) recently wrote about a favorite food memory from Rome all the way back in 2005 that involved not only a restaurant (Cul-de-Sac) that I went to last weekend but also bolognese sauce! I've been searching all over the web for a good recipe to bring home, and while it seems a bit labor intensive, I can't wait to try it out for the holidays!


· 3 pounds ground beef (15% fat content)

· 1 pound ground pork

· 2 cups dry white wine

· 2 cups dry red wine (I used a 2005 Pago de Larrainzar Navarra)

· 6 ounces pancetta

· 6 garlic cloves

· 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

· ½ teaspoon salt (more to taste)

· 2 medium yellow onions

· 2 large stalks celery

· 1 carrot

· 12 ounces tomato paste

· 2 cups broth (or substitute water)

· 8 cups whole milk

· Fresh ground pepper

· Fresh ground nutmeg


· Put ground meat into large mixing bowl

· Crumble and loosen using your fingers

· Pour white wine over the meat, and incorporate so that meat is evenly moisturized

· Chop onions, carrots, and celery

· Peel garlic and dice

· Chop pancetta

· Combine pancetta and garlic in a food processor, and process into a fine paste (this is called a “pestata”)

· Heat olive oil in a 10-12-inch diameter heavy bottomed sauce pot, or a 5-quart Dutch Oven

· Over medium-high heat, add pestata, stirring frequently to foster the fat rendering process

· Cook for about three minutes, until the garlic and pancetta are sizzling and a good amount of fat has pooled in the pan

· Add onions, and cook until they start to become slightly translucent

· Add carrots and celery, stir while cooking for about five minutes

· Push vegetables to the side, and add meat to the pan

· Sprinkle salt over the meat

· Give meat a few minutes to brown, and then stir/spread/toss and mix with vegetables until all of the meat browns

· When the meat has emitted a great deal of fat, turn the heat up to high and stir often until the liquid dissipates (this will take about 45 minutes – DO NOT let the meat burn, lower heat if necessary)

· In sauce pans, heat up the milk and broth/water

· Once the meat has been de-liquefied, make a small circle in the middle of the meat, and add the tomato paste so that it may brown for a minute, then stir into the meat

· Add two cups hot milk to meat, and stir

· Grate two tablespoons (about half) of a nutmeg into the meat

· Add red wine, and incorporate completely

· From this point, the Bolognese will take three hours to complete

· Add one cup of milk every twenty minutes

· If the liquid is evaporating too quickly, or you run out of milk add broth

· If the liquid isn’t evaporating quickly enough, turn up heat – but make sure to stir frequently so that portions of the sauce do not stick to the bottom of the pan

· Salt to taste

· Serve over your favorite fresh pasta, and freeze extra sauce for up to three months, buon appetito!

* images and recipe via Table + Teaspoon

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