March 24-27 Bolognese For My Baby

March 24    Tuna Noodle Casserole with a salad of pea shoots, orange, daikon and bean sprouts
March 25    Wing night with the neighbours
March 26    penne with bolognese sauce
March 27    Roast pork loin with orange/cumin/cilantro

It's been a pasta heavy week here on no reEATS but it also snowed again so we all had to shift gears from "time to grill!!" to "oh crap, more cold weather comfort food required!"

On top of the last ditch effort for winter to kick us in the teeth, Shack is still feeling pretty terrible with his broken ribs so I thought I would do something nice for him and make him a bolognese sauce. Not the delicious, but quick meat sauce that we all love, but the all afternoon simmering on the stove sauce.
That is love people. You spend your sunny, Saturday afternoon indoors, stirring meat around in the pot for your damaged man.

I borrowed the beautiful Le Creuset pot that we got The Neighbours for christmas so I could test drive it before shelling out that kind of dough on one for myself. I will say right now, that pot is worth it's weight in gold and I am getting one for myself ASAP now that I have cooked with one.

I found a few recipes that looked okay and finally settled on one from a blog called Food Nouveau. I didn't stray too far because it sounded pretty perfect already.

Ragu Bolognese
adapted from this recipe on Food Nouveau

2 tables olive oil
4 tbls butter
1 onion, finely diced
3 small carrots, finely
2 stalks celery, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
150 g of pancetta, diced small
kosher salt and fresh black pepper
500 g ground veal
500 g ground pork
1 cup white wine
2 cups of milk
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken stock

pinch of hot chilli flakes
fresh grated parmesan for serving
fresh basil

Place your big saucepan over medium heat and melt the butter with the oil and sauté the carrots, the onion, the celery and garlic with some salt for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the pancetta and cook for at least another 10 to 15 minutes, until your pancetta is starting to colour.

Increase the heat to medium high and at the meat 1/4 at a time, stirring and breaking it up with each addition. Once all the meat has been added and there is no visible pink left start letting your meat brown for about ten minutes before you turn the heat back down to medium and continue to brown for another 5 minutes or so (make sure your meat is start to brown).

Add the wine and de glaze the pan with it, scraping up all the cooked bits on the bottom of your pot for a few minutes.

Throw in the milk , tomatoes, chicken stock and some another good pinch of salt and some pepper. Bring it to a boil and the turn the heat down to low and let it simmer slowly for at least 4 hrs. I let mine simmer for closer to 5 hrs to get the right consistency. Check for salt and pepper

Cook your pasta (we used penne - just make sure it's a nice, rugged pasta that can stand up to the meatiness of the sauce), drain well and then spoon some sauce on to it in the pot or a serving bowl and mix well to make sure all of the pasta is well coated. Add more sauce on top of each serving and sprinkle lots of freshly grated parmesan over the top. I add chilli flakes to mine and I think that little kick of heat helped to cut the intense meatiness for me - it's a really rich, fatty sauce and NOT a tomato sauce at all so for me, that bit of chilli made a big difference.

I quite liked it but couldn't eat a big bowl of it because it's just really heavy but very tasty. Little Shack didn't like it because he likes his sauces to be more tomato based than all meat but Shack was thrilled and that was the goal.