Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pasta Bolognese At The Clean Plate Club

I was determined to try-try-again with the whole homemade pasta thing. This time using an actual recipe and my fantabulous new food processor (thanks Santa!). But what to put on top of it? Between you and me, butter and Parmesan cheese would be just fine. Plenty fine indeed! But homemade noodles deserve something less spartan than that. And they certainly deserve something more special than our regular old everyday spaghetti sauce. Kind of like when you get new furniture and suddenly the walls need to be painted, and then the carpeting looks so... boring, old, dated, shabby. It's a universal law that one new thing begets a need for another. Well, we happened to have on hand most of what we needed to make a meat sauce, so that's what we did. Yes, we. The Hubs and I tag-teamed while making it. I relayed the steps for the sauce to him while I rolled out the pasta dough, and he did all the rest. And a fantastic job he did of it too.

We had a blast making up cooking terms a la the BBC Posh Nosh* series. Silly things like: "Irritate the carrots and celery...", or "Thoroughly confuse the tomato paste with the ground meat...". This was such an easygoing meal to prepare, from start to finish (it helped that we weren't in a hurry). In order to balance all the awesomeness of the food, Hubs brought out our favorite Sangiovese from the cellar**. Whoa! Real wine... from a bottle? What's the occasion? Well, keep in mind that universal law: He told me that, "homemade pasta with homemade sauce called for something a little more special than wine poured from a plastic spigot on the side of a cardboard container".***

We absolutely enjoyed every bit of this meal: the making of it, the eating of it, and the talking about how awesome it was afterward. Oh, and the wine was pretty great too. Salute!

My Notes: I used half of a container of mirepoix that I had in the freezer (about two cups). Did not slice the garlic cloves, peeled them and tossed them in whole. Didn't measure the olive oil. Alas, we had no pancetta or even bacon. Used 1-lb ground beef and 1-lb JimmyDean ground pork sausage, 2 x 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes, Vermouth, dried thyme + dried herb blend. All other ingredients as listed. Followed recipe instructions as written. After an hour of simmering, sauce had not reduced at all. Took off lid and simmered for another hour. I knew the extra cooking time wouldn't hurt it. After it reduced some, I skimmed a bit of the fat from the surface. Added salt, pepper and cream, then simmered some more. Was way worth the wait. Leftovers filled two big jars (froze one for later).

*Posh Nosh was a series of 10-minute shorts from BBC, that brilliantly lampooned television cooking shows. Watch episode #6 on youtube... then when you've stopped laughing, watch the rest (eight total).
**Coat closet.
***Yep, true confessions. Boxed wine. Don't judge us... we really do have good taste in wine, but times are tough all over. At least it was a mid-range box.
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