Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tagliatelle Bolognese

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
Tagliatelle bolognese is a dish I have made only twice. Once when I was in Atlanta and the second was today. It is a favorite of my friend from Argentina, Ines, who now resides in Montreal. For a pasta dish, it is a fairly involved process so I make it only for special occasions. I also took it a step further and made fresh pasta instead of buying dry tagliatelle which just really enhances the flavor of the dish. I was happy to realize that Lidia actually has a recipe for fresh tagliatelle so I used her recipe and it came out perfectly. A lot of work, but totally worth it. 

The main recipe for the bolognese sauce is from Tyler Florence. I have to admit, he seems such a nice guy on TV but I've made a couple of his recipes and they always came out flat. More often than not, his recipes take a lot of work and the flavors are usually just okay. This is an exception to the list of recipes that he authored and one that is fairly good. The trick to making this sauce is to have a lot of time to prepare it. It is better if you can do it the day before you need to serve it as the flavors have the chance to blend and develop. You make way more sauce than you need for the amount of pasta called for in the recipe but you can eat the sauce with a crusty bread and you're set.  

*Tagliatelle Bolognese - Adapted

2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
1/4 lb pancetta or slab bacon, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs rosemary 
1 1/2 lb ground pork
1 1/2 lb ground beef 
2 cups condensed milk
1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
2 cups dry red wine (I used Merlot)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb fresh tagiatelle pasta
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
1 handful fresh basil leaves
Fresh ricotta cheese

1. Reconstitute the mushrooms in 1 cup hot water for 20 minutes until  

2. Puree the mushrooms (including the liquid), pancetta, onion, celery
   stalks, carrots, garlic, together in a blender or food processor.

3. In a heavy-bottomed pot add olive oil, bay leaves, the herbs and cook
    gently until fragrant. Add the vegetable puree and continue to cook
    for a further 5 to 10 minutes.

4. Raise the heat a bit and add the ground pork and beef; brown until
    the meat is no longer pink, breaking up the clumps with a wooden
    spoon. Add the milk and simmer until the liquid is evaporated. 

5. Carefully pour in the tomatoes, and wine and season with salt and
    pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower the heat and cover.
    Slowly simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring now and then, until the
    sauce is very thick. Taste again for salt and pepper.

6. When ready to serve, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add
    the pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until "al dente". Drain the
    pasta well and toss with the Bolognese sauce. If using fresh pasta,
    it takes only a few minutes to reach the al dente stage so do keep an
    eye on it.

7. Serve with a good scoop of fresh ricotta cheese and garnish with
    some shredded basil, grated Parmigiano and a drizzle of olive oil.

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