Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Snowed In
"Hot" on the heels of the last little snow storm,
we received another of winter's little presents.
This time the NWS promised us 4 to 7 inches of snow.
At least they got it right this time
as we did end up with at least 4 inches of the white fluffy stuff.

There's "my" barn again.

And more snow.
Little Minx has been very anxious to go out in the snow
and has tried several times to sneak out of the house.

I decided to indulge him today and let him out
- on a leash.
Surprisingly, he didn't even balk this time at having the harness put on him.

Minx seemed to enjoy the cold, wet stuff.
Me? Not so much.
After all, it was cold and windy out there.
Minx reluctantly let me drag him back inside.
A cold, snowy winter's day deserves some hearty food.
I decided to make Anne Burrell's Pasta Bolognese.

But first, here is a tip for those of you who need a way to display a recipe so that it can easily be read during the cooking process.
I put a small binder clip on a large spatula that sits in a container on my counter...

Then the recipe attaches to that, holding it in place while I cook.
Easy peasy and didn't cost me a dime
(and that makes my accountant/banker husband very happy).
Now, on to the recipe.

As the recipe makes enough for six to eight people,
I decided to halve the recipe this time out.
My mise en place consisted of:
1/3 cup onion, cut into 1 inch dice
1 large carrot, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1-1/2 ribs celery, cut into 1 inch dice
2 cloves garlic
extra virgin olive oil, for the pan
kosher salt
1-1/2 lbs. ground chuck
1 cup (12 oz.) tomato paste
1-1/2 cups hearty red wine
1-1/2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
High quality extra virgin olive oil, for finishing
After tasting, I did end up adding about 1/4 cup of sugar to the sauce.*
*Yes, I know that adding sugar to a tomato sauce
is sacrilegious to Italians, but I'm not Italian, so there.

The directions said to pulse the onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a food processor
until they became a coarse paste.


Next, I was to saute the veggies in some olive oil
until the liquid is evaporated and the veggies start to brown.

Then the ground beef was added in and allowed to brown.

Looking good.

Next it was time to add the tomato paste in the pan to allow that to caramelize a bit.

Red wine was added to the pan and allowed to reduce by half.

Can I just tell you that I can see all the flavor?
No, I didn't think so.
I think Sandra Lee is crazy for seeing flavor all the time.

Finally it was time to add enough water to cover the beef by one inch.
The bay leaves and the thyme were also added at this point.
After allowing the sauce to come to a brief boil,
the heat was reduced to a simmer.
I then let this simmer happily away for three and a half hours,
adding more water if needed.

At the end, I tasted, and added more salt to season.
Then, as the sauce still seemed to need something,
I added the sugar.
Yep, that was it.

Luckily, this makes enough sauce for two dishes,
so I was able to save half the sauce for another time.
Following the directions,
I added the cooked pasta and some of the pasta water to the remaining sauce.

Then the Parmesan cheese was added to the dish.

More Parmesan cheese and some garlic bread add to the dish.
What can I say?
We all loved this dish,
despite the fact that it is somewhat time-consuming to make.
But I guess that's a personal problem, right?

No comments: