Sunday, February 21, 2010


ever since i had that amazing bolognese with orecchiette at caiola's back in november, i can't get it out of my head. i have to admit, before this dish i sort of thought bologease was just red sauce with ground meat. this dinner at caiola's changed everything for me. friday night, already in bed, i decided to make it this weekend. so i grabbed my copy of how to cook everything, and just like i thought, bitty had a very approachable bolognese recipe.

so yesterday i woke with plans of visiting the first winter farmers market and having a little lunch with jen, andrew and the kids. seth and i planned to incorporate a little exercise into our day and we ended up walking through the entire city, stopping here and there for little bits of food. the weather was amazing and it turned out to be one of those special portland days where i keep asking myself how i can be so lucky as to live in such a wonderful little city with such an amazing quality of life. i will narrate it through the dish i made for dinner.

meat sauce, bolognese-style by mark bittman

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, minced (from fresh approach)
1 carrot, peeled and minced (from winter farmer's market, fish bowl farms)
i celery stalk, minced (i omitted this)
1/4 cup minced bacon or pancetta (from micucci -- i just realized i used a 1/4 pound of pancetta! well more pancetta is never a bad thing)
1/2 pound ground pork (from farmer's market, sumner valley farms)
1/2 pound lean ground beef (from fresh approach -- for some reason, didn't occur to me to buy it at farmer's market)
3/4 cup dry white wine or juice form tomatoes
1 (28- or 35-ounce) can whole plum tomatoes, drained reserve juice if needed instead of wine
1 cup beef or chicken stock (used my own homemade chicken stock)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup cream, half-and-half, or milk (used MOOMilk)
freshly grated parmesan cheese

put the olive oil in large, deep skillet or sauce-pan. turn the heat to medium-low and, a minute later, add the onion, carrot, celery, and pancetta. cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
add the ground meat and cook, stirring and breaking up any clumps, until all traces of red are gone, about 5 minutes. add the wine or tomato juice, raise the heat a bit, and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes.
crush the tomatoes with a fork or your hands and add them to the pot; stir, then add the stock. turn the heat to low and cook at a slow simmer, stirring occasionally and breaking up the tomatoes and any clumps of meat that remain. after an hour or so, add salt and pepper. cook for at least another hour, until much of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce is very thick.
add the cream, half-and-half, or milk and cook for another 15 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. serve immediately with any dried or fresh pasta, passing grated parmesan, if you like, at the table.

seth has no qualms about carbo-loading so he asked me to also make garlic bread. normally if i were making pasta i would refuse,but i was feeling pretty indulgent, so i agreed. i really like to get a little demi baguette for garlic bread, because we just don't need that much bread for the two of us. we found one at standard baking co. i must say, my garlic bread is some of the best i have ever had. the trick is a lot of butter! for a demi baguette, i use about 2 tablespoons of butter and 2-3 cloves of garlic. i let it come to room temp (or gently microwave it) and spread it all over a baguette sliced length wise. then i sprinkle a little finely grated parmsean cheese on it and stick it under the broiler for 2-3 minutes.
at standard baking co. we also picked up some dessert: 1 madeline and a chocolate cork. the madeline was a perfect rendition of this cake like cookie and the chocolate cork was rich and fudgey and a total treat!

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