Monday, December 20, 2010

Pasta Bolognese

I really need some new dishes :)

*this post made possible by the Dutiful Dish Slave, aka the best son in the world. He's been a trooper during the evolution of this blog, doing stacks and stacks of dishes with nary a complaint. Thank you, Alex :) *

Busy times here at Chez C.O. ...we just love Christmas around these parts. Decorating, present shopping, caroling...and, of course, fun in the kitchen. Preliminary baking has been completed, with much much more to happen this week. My actual dinnertime cooking has been suffering a bit as a result...which is good news for Mark, as he's been able to get into the kitchen unhindered

We've both been craving Bolognese sauce for a while...not that we've ever made it, mind, but we wanted it all the same. Bolognese is a rich, meaty sauce...a combination of beef and pork, with ingredients such as chicken livers and milk or heavy cream often added to enhance that rich, luscious taste and feel. Traditionally there is not lot of tomato going on - the focus is the rich meaty flavor.

Other than coming out strongly in favor of chicken livers, I really left Mark alone on this one...and, as usual, he has come up with a winner here :

Mark's Pasta Bolognese

1/4 c olive oil
1 T butter
5 oz Canadian Bacon
1 good sized yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, minced
2 celery stalks, minced
3/4 cup tiny mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb ground beef
1 pound sweet Italian sausage (casings removed)
6 chicken livers
1/2 cup veal or beef stock
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup Marsala
1 28 oz can whole Italian plum tomatoes
3 oz tomato paste
1 t salt
1/2 t thyme
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1 t smoked paprika
1/4 cup heavy cream
fresh chopped parsley

1 to 2 pounds mafaldine pasta , cooked according to package directions

Melt the butter in a heavy saute pan and add half the olive oil. Saute the onions, carrot and celery for about five minutes, then add the mushrooms and garlic and saute another 5 - 10 minutes (until soft, not brown) . Transfer to a heavy stockpot or Dutch oven.

Heat the remaining oil to brown the meats, and let the meat mixture cook a bit - until almost dry. Transfer the meat to the pot, and deglaze the pan with the red wine. Add the wine, Marsala, and stock to the pot.

Drain the liquid from the tomatoes into the pot, then crush the tomatoes themselves with your hands and add them as well. Add the tomato paste and spices, mix well, and let simmer 1 1/2 to 2 hours, uncovered. Stir in the heavy cream at the end, and sprinkle with the parsley.

*Mafaldine pasta is not super easy to find....other pastas would work as well; tagliatelle, fusilli, fettuccine, or whatever you like. Amount to make depends on your personal pasta-sauce ratio preference. We cooked two pounds and had about half a pound left over.

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