What’s Cookin’?

For the last 4 days Kristy has been sick with a stomach flu of some sort, and because of that we have been eating at home. Yes people we really do eat at home, and I love to cook. I know most of you think we are spending our non-existent children’s  college fund on eating out, but we actually eat at home quite a bit.

Now, any of you that might be my friend of Facebook, or follow me on Instagram, or Twitter know that I can be a bit OCD in the kitchen. I have a tendency to prep, clean and cook, so when things are done I only have a few items to clean or put in the dishwasher. It drives some people nuts, but I have always had a small kitchen and it leads to efficiency.

Tonight for the 4th night in a row I am cooking at home and I decided to get one meal started for tomorrow, before I cook up some broiled cod and twice baked potatoes. For tomorrow, I am preparing  Ragu Di Carne Alla Bolognese, or Bolognese sauce that will be served with tagliatelle. The recipe that I am preparing is my Grandmother’s, and while it is actually simple to make, it all comes down to ingredients and prep. You have to finely chop the onion, carrot, and pancetta.  Yes pancetta, you can’t use bacon you buy on the grocery store shelf. it has to many sulfides and salt in it, and the flavor is just not the same. And yes I said carrots earlier. A proper Bolognese Meat sauce has carrots in it. The sweetness of them offsets the salt and acid from the other ingredients. Another thing, there isn’t much tomato sauce in here. Just four table spoons in enough sauce for 6. The whole recipe is all about balance, and consistency.  Something that is applied at good restaurants, and usually not found in package food to go at the store, or fast food joints. The recipe is listed below.

  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot finely chopped
  • 1 stalk of celery finely chopped
  • 1/2 a cup of diced mushrooms
  • 1/4 pound of unsalted pancetta (you can get it at Whole Foods or any Italian Deli)
  • 3/4 pound of ground veal,pork, and beef (each portion equals 1/3 the total)
  • 1 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 tablespoons of tomato puree
  • 1 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream

In a deep sauce pot heat the olive oil and butter until the butter has melted. Add the onion, carrot, celery and mushrooms and cook them until they have softened and begun to lightly brown. Add in the pancetta and ground meat mixture and cook them until the meat changes color. At this point slowly add the red wine and bring the mixture to a simmer until the wine has evaporated and reduced by half. add seasoning, tomato puree and a little bit of the chicken stock. Cook slowly, in a covered pot stirring occasionally and gradually adding in all of the chicken stock. Cook over a low heat for 1 and a half hours letting the sauce simmer and thicken. At the 1 and a half hour point add in the heavy cream and cook uncovered until the sauce has reduced. Serve with tagliatelle pasta.