Yesterday was a good day.
It started off with brunch at Aquitaine, which is always fabulous. Our wait for a table was over an hour, so to pass the time we stopped by South End Formaggio. Needless to say, that quick stop turned into a full-fledged cheese tasting. I ended up buying three kinds of cheese, wine and a baguette. South End Formaggio is dangerous.
Our trip to South End Formaggio also inspired us to have a dinner party. I don’t know if it was their unbelievable selection of Italian groceries (the Pappardelle noodles especially caught my eye), or the fact that I am obsessed with Bolognese but Pappardelle Bolognese somehow became the verdict for dinner.
Wine: Ascheri Dolcetto D’Alba 2009 | Cheese: (far left) Cabot Clothbound Cheddar from Vermont, (middle) Chevot Goat Cheese From France, (right) Captein Gouda from Holland
I’ve made Bolognese a handful of times by just winging it and it always comes out pretty good. I mean, how could it not? This time I wanted to use the best recipe I could find. After looking at a ton of different ones, I somehow narrowed it down to two celebrity chefs. I was very close to trying out Mario Batali’s recipe – but I changed my mind last minute because of the lack of tomatoes. He only called for half a tube of tomato paste and that was IT. No diced, crushed, sauce, nothing! Is that normal? Not for me. My Bolognese needed more tomatoes than that. More searching led me to Emeril’s recipe. Even though Emeril is known for being more of a TV personality than a chef – this recipe is legit, I promise. And it has more than enough tomatoes to satisfy tomato-lover’s cravings.
Pappardelle Bolognese (adapted from Emeril’s Spaghetti Bolognese)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
- 3/4 cup diced carrots
- 3/4 cup diced celery
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes and their juice
- 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon balsamic
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 pound pappardelle
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 – In a large pot heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, celery and carrots until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
I’m becoming convinced that onions, carrots and celery are the ONLY way to start off a red pasta sauce.
2 - Add the beef and pork, stirring, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
3 - Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the balsamic and wine and cook, stirring, to deglaze the pan and remove any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pan, and until half of the liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes.
4 - Add the tomatoes and their juices, the tomato sauce, chicken stock, and sugar and bring to a boil.
I love the individually packaged Pacific organic chicken broth from Whole Foods – I always end up wasting so much otherwise.
5 - Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the sauce is thickened and flavorful, about 1 1/2 hours.
6 - Add the cream, butter, and parsley, stir well, and simmer for 2 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.
7 - Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and return the water to a low boil. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent the noodles from sticking, until al dente, 4-6 minutes for pappardelle. Drain in a colander.
8 – Serve, divvying up the pasta first, then adding the sauce on top.
9 – Add CHZ
And there you have it. The best Bolognese I have ever made. This recipe was perfect. The sauce was a kind of sweet with a smooth texture and had a really deep flavor. The pork literally melts in your mouth. The pappardelle noodles were light and al dente which went perfectly with the meaty sauce.