Bolognese Sauce

Right now, it is Friday night.      Okay, Saturday morning.      12:22 am to be exact

At this very moment, countless of my young Athenian peers are rocking their hot pants, dancing on raised surfaces and sloshing cheap beer in one another’s hair.     Yum.

And what is my life looking like this fine Friday night?

I’ll give you a hint…it’s not hot pants and booze.

It’s more like a Snuggie and books.

I know… I am sad. I am lame. And most importantly, I have to study.            Which I guess makes me a sad lame dork.  If only I wore glasses.

But oh hey, lookee there…I’m not even studying. Whoops.           Does that somehow retract some of my sad lame dorkishness?

Probably not.

Still…studying is what I desperately need to do, and yet, I seem to keep finding way more amusing activities.

I went down the street for fro-yo, I Tastespotted for things I’d like to bake but can’t, I Facebook stalked people I forgot existed, I made coffee to stay awake and do more pointless things, I texted with my adopted child, I plucked my eyebrows, I did not study…

And now, I am talking to you about bolognese.

AKA MEATFEST.

This is one of those foods that I am under no circumstances to be left alone with. Ever.

Sometimes I try to come across sorta ladylike and junk, but just put me in a room with a pot of this sauce and loaf of Italian bread…it’s all over.    You’ve released the beast.

Seriously, there is nothing like a classic meat sauce to bring out the animal in you.

But you know what’s really sad? Besides my lack of self-control and dorkdom…

Most people don’t even know what the real deal is.

Bolognese sauce is rich, hearty, meaty, complex and so so many other beautiful adjectives that I’m not about to sit here and write out.       And if you want to know the real secret…it’s the seemingly out-of-place spices. Trust me, the wee bit of cinnamon and nutmeg completely make this.

Sorry, but chunking some ground beef in a skillet with a jar of Ragu is not lick-the-pot worthy. Let’s be clear, this isn’t a food snobbish thing…this is a general dumbing down of the kitchen thing. I know people…my age…who legit cannot work an oven. That is BAD. As a society, our general attitude towards food, is poop. Subsequently, we’re starting to trade in traditional cooking methods for  Hot Pockets and totally lose heritage recipes that are crucial on so many levels beyond satisfying our bellies. These delicious traditions are endangered species of the culinary realm…edible humpback whales if you will.

Actually, I guess whales are edible. Eating them would be kind of counter productive to that whole “save the whales” thing though.                                                                                    PS, This is a fine example of why I suck at studying.

Anyway, I’m gonna shut up now on my little food preservation rant. This is neither the time nor the place. I could kill the next few days with it. In fact I just turned in a 68 page paper concerning the issue.

Yeah, I totally just squeezed that little tidbit  in there to sound like a baller. No shame. But really, let’s go grab coffee and chat the topic over later. It’ll be fun and informative. Yeehaw.

In the meantime, please go ask your grammy for recipes. You shouldn’t have to seek your gastronomic heritage from Papa Emeril and Mama Giada.

Bolognese Sauce

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  •  medium ribs celery, finel diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 /2 pound ground veal
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes and their juice
  • 3/4 cup beef stock
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsleyleaves

For Serving

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • fresh shaven Romano cheese

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the veal and beef,cook, stirring, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, to deglaze the pan and remove any browned bits sticking to the bottom, and until half of the liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and their juices,  beef broth, and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the sauce is thickened and flavorful, about 1 1/2 hours. Add the cream, butter, and parsley, stir well, and simmer for 2 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and return the water to a low boil. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent the noodlesfrom sticking, until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain in a colander.

Add the pasta to the sauce, tossing to coat.  Divide among pasta bowls and serve with the Romano cheese. (Alternatively, toss only the desired portion of pasta with a bit of the sauce at a time in a serving bowl, reserving the remainder for another meal.)

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