Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Dinner

The temperature has finally dropped around here, and the forecast is rain for the holiday. To heat up the condo, and to have something delicious to freeze and defrost for the busy month to come, you can't beat bolognese sauce. I know it takes a long time to make. I know there is a lot of chopping(or using your food processer). But, you will love it, your husband will love it, and if you spend Sundays lazing about the house like I do, there's really only about an hour of initial effort, followed by periodic stirring and tasting. Totally manageable while you pay bills, chat on the phone, do laundry or whatever. Plus, it really warms up your house!

So, from O Magazine's February 2007 edition (and I love how they always include a story with the recipe) here is Celia Barbour's recipe with a couple twists and notes:

Bolognese Sauce
1 medium onion, minced
1 large or two small carrots, minced
2-3 sticks of celery, minced
1 oz. bacon/pancetta (I'm too lazy to find pancetta and I think bacon works well here)
1 pound ground beef (the recipe says "not lean" and I've been using 20% fat)
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper (I am way generous on this and think it's closer to a tsp. in my version)
pinch allspice (I am also generous on this as well)
1 c. whole milk
1 c. dry white wine (California Chardonnay of varying prices is what I use)
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice1 lb. pasta of your preference (I like penne rigate or other short, ridged pasta)
1. Chop the carrots, celery and onion very fine (I use the cuisinart and pulse about 20 seconds). In a heavy sauce pan, add minced bacon and over very low heat, let it cook until the fat is rendered and the bacon is just turning brown. Then, add chopped vegetables and raise heat to medium, stirring until onion is translucent (about 10 minutes).
2. Add ground beef, allspice, about 1/2 tsp. salt and the pepper. Chop up the beef with a spoon and cook until brown.
3. Add milk. The mixture will start to simmer. When it does that, reduce the heat to low, and let it cook until the milk has evaporated (about 40 minutes). Stir occasionally. Then, add the white wine and cook over low heat until wine has evaporated (another 40 minutes). Then, add the tomatoes and their juice, and cover. Cook over low heat for 2-3 hours (I have eaten it after 1.5 hours of cooking and it is still delicious).
4. Enjoy with vast amounts of pasta and freshly grated parmesan cheese.
5. It makes about 4 cups, and I highly recommend freezing a couple of small portions for those nights during the week when you need a special dinner but don't have five hours to spare.

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