Monday, January 8, 2007

Pappardelle Bolognese

Why: My Mother knows her books and knows me so for Christmas, she got me Heat by Bill Buford. The author spent time in Mario Batali's kitchen and wrote about the Bolognese sauce made there. I was intrigued. I found the recipe easily enough on Epicurious, but this time, instead of changing the recipe, I pretty much made it exactly as it came. I even made the homemade pappardelle on which to serve it (I won't provide that recipe here; it was a basic pasta recipe). The sauce is mainly meat and contains milk(!?!) and so was unlike any I've ever had.

What I Ended Up With:

1 medium onions, finely chopped
2 celery ribs, finely chopped
1 medium carrots, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 lb pancetta, pulsed in food processor until finely chopped
1 lb ground meatball mix (ground veal, pork and beef)
3 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup water
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Cook onions, celery, carrot, and garlic in oil in a 6- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add pancetta and ground meat and cook over moderately high heat, stirring and breaking up lumps, until no longer pink, about 6 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste, milk, wine, water, and thyme and gently simmer, covered, until sauce is thickened, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Add salt and pepper and remove from heat.

Sauce may be made 2 days ahead and cooled, uncovered, before chilling, covered. Frozen, it keeps for 1 month.

Serves 4 over pasta.

Review: The sauce was good although I knew my husband would prefer a more tomato-y sauce. However, I was very disappointed in the pasta. It was weak and bland. Dried pasta would have been (dare I say it?) better. It wasn't until I finished the book that I found out why I wasn't impressed: it was the eggs.

I would make the sauce again, but with an equal part of crushed tomatoes thrown in. What can I say? I'm an American and I like tomato sauce on my pasta although I'm glad I gave this one a try. And it is easy to make. A good base for a meat sauce.

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