patience for bolognese sauce

Sometimes I feel like cooking and sometimes I feel like taking pictures. Other times, a recipe is so easy that it almost seems as though there isn't time for either to happen.
Bolognese sauce is definitely a case for this.

I ended up making Bolognese sauce last week because I needed a meal that would do the following:
  • train friendly. needed to get home via train for my mom's birthday. 
  • be something new. ahem 52 in 52... 
  • Italian-ish. when you refuse to leave your neighborhood.... this happens.
It also wouldn't hurt it the recipe appealed to the entire family as opposed to just me.

Enter.... Bolognese sauce.

I'm sure there are ways to make this recipe complicated and challenging. There are ways to make pancakes challenging right? But I honestly can't imagine what you'd do to make it hard (twss). But that helps when you decide to use a crockpot. Plus, I used one of those crockpot liners ... so the cleanup was non-existent. I might never crockpot without one again - totes worth the cost (approx $2 a liner) for a weekday cooking event.

The thing about bolognese sauce is that it has a pretty odd collection of ingredients in it. One, pancetta. (Hello gorgeous) Two, celery and carrots (Hello vitamins). I bet you never thought those would go together. But they do... especially when you toss in some meat and wine... and cook it for NINE HOURS.

So this is how it all goes down.

(Step 1) In a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. For real a large pan, trust me I learned the hard way. Add the pancetta and sauté until it begins to render its fat, about 1 minute. Add the onions, carrots and celery and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. 

(Step 2) Add the beef and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until it is no longer red. This doesn't take super long, but also don't worry your pretty little head about perfection. Remember its going to sit in a slowcooker for hours. Anything that isn't totally cooked will be done without fret. Transfer the meaty business to a slow cooker.

(Step 3) Add the broth and wine to the pan and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Pour the liquid into the slow cooker along with the tomatoes and stir to combine. I didn't have a whole lot to "deglaze" but I'm sure there was some great flavor there... and I hate to miss out on flavor.

Chef's note.... If you remember from the tomato soup recipe, San Marzano tomatoes are the best thing since sliced bread. So, despite the recipe calling for "crushed plum tomatoes" ... I said no way and crushed these suckers myself.

Shopping List

Olive oil
2 oz. pancetta, chopped
2 small yellow onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
2 lb. ground beef
2 cups beef broth
1 1/2 cups dry red wine
1 can (28 oz.) crushed plum tomatoes
1/2 cup skim milk
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Bonus pictures? 
This is the picture I sent my family as evidence of cooking time. If you think thats in minutes, you are a fool. I never thought I'd wait 9 hours for anything but bread to rise.
Fresh pasta meat boiling water. I bought this pasta from a local shop in the North End ... and literally saw the old woman who makes it. Pretty phenomenal. I also got to hold her adorable grandchild who was quite taken with my big canvas tote. Note: I didn't ask permission before I wrapped that adorable little girl in my arms. I figured it was a fair trade for 3 things of pasta and bread. No?

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