Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bolognese (Back to Basics)

Copyright 2013 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
This has become the signature dish for birthdays with my friends apparently. A commonly bastardized dish according to Italian chefs, an article was written on the Telegraph about how everyone was cooking this Italian dish wrong. Well, I'm glad that the authentic recipe is being celebrated since this is definitely one beloved Italian pasta dish that I do love a lot. Gone is the topping of ricotta cheese and in lieu is a simple shaving or dusting of Parmigiano cheese. I may also have to revert back to spaghetti, not tagliatelle or fettuccini (if I'm really desperate for tagliatelle and could not find it anywhere). This is a "spag-bol" dish in the first place, not a "tag-bol".

Tyler Florence’s Tagliatelle Bolognese

Copyright 2013 LtDan’s Kitchen blogs

I have been using Tyler Florence's recipe for ages and it is something that I hate to make but love to eat. The sauce takes a long time to prepare and it has a few odd ingredients which I'm glad the original recipe does not include. There is the white version made with milk and the more traditional version with just the red sauce. Tyler uses a combination of the two recipes by adding condensed milk to the red sauce. Yep, you read it right, condensed milk. It might sound horrifying but I used to make this spaghetti sauce with condensed milk and liver spread. However, I had no idea what an authentic Italian red sauce was at that time so I had that convenient excuse and also, that was 25 years ago. Now that I know better, making traditional sauces is actually something I always strive to do as a sign of respect to another country's culinary tradition. Anyway, let's start cooking.

Spaghetti Bolognese

5 lbs ground beef
4-6 cloves garlic
2 large onions, grated
2 large carrots, grated coarsely
4 celery sticks, grated or chopped finely
6 oz bacon, diced finely
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato paste
2 cups dry red wine
6 cups beef broth
salt and pepper
4 dried bay leaves
4 tbsp olive oil
2 lbs spaghetti
basil leaves
Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Fry the bacon 
    until golden and crispy. Add the bay leaves and saute for a minute. 

2. Add the celery, onions, and carrots and fry until softened and slightly 
    caramelized. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Add the beef and season well with salt and pepper. Cook until the beef 
    is browned. 

4. Add the red wine and the broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add 
    the diced tomatoes and the tomato paste and stir well. 

5. Lower the heat to low and bring to a simmer. Cook covered for about 2 
    hours. Check occasionally and make sure that the sauce is not sticking 
    to the pan. 

6. Check for flavor and adjust accordingly. the sauce is ready when there is 
    barely enough liquid holding the meat sauce that is simmering. The sauce 
    will be thick.  Keep at a simmer while you cook the pasta.

To assemble the dish:

Cook the pasta as per packet instruction. When the al dente stage is reached, drain the cooking liquid and add just enough sauce to coat the pasta. Transfer into a serving plate and top with more sauce. Dust with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and garnish with juliened basil leaves. A good drizzling of extra virgin olive oil is also a nice touch.    

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