Tuesday, May 8, 2012

'Bolo-neeze', 'Bolo-nayze' - Let's Call the Whole Thing Off!

Mom would sometimes make a pasta with a bolognese sauce, usually with shells or rigatonis. She never called it bolognese, she'd call it her meat sauce - and that was that. She'd add a bit of mushrooms to hers and cook it almost all day long. But bolognese wasn't her thing. She believes a true Italian sauce (or gravy) should definitely have some type of pork in it to make it taste delicious. And it always does. When I went out to restaurants, I never knew what the word bolognese was. When I found out and ordered it - it was my favorite dish. I'd ask the waiter, "I'll have the rigatoni bolog-neeze (with the 'g' sound in it) please. And oh, I'll have a glass of merlot (with the 't' sound in it)."  The waiter would cringe as he wrote my order down, grab all the menus and run. Hey, I was only 21 back then and not too polished on my food &  beverage knowledge. Sadly, I stopped pronouncing it "bolog-neeze" not too long ago, until someone (kindly) pointed out that I was botching up that beautiful word. So now I know, even after having cooked it a billion and one times.

I hear people making it much differently than I do - some using vegetables, carrots and other miscellaneous things that I would never throw in there, but every recipe is unique, even if it's the same ingredients. Different tastes, different pots, different ingredients/brands, etc., etc., and etc.  I have almost the same ingredients as mom, but a bit different. Of course, she would throw in 6-7 cans of tomato sauce, where I use only 1 can and it's a lot thinner (and less quantity) since I'm not cooking for an army. The one thing I love about a sauce is my garlic chopped nice and thin, yet big enough so you can actually see the chunks on your fork full of pasta. In my marinara sauce, before the meat dives in, I sauté about five cloves of chopped garlic, a half of a small onion, a handful of fresh parsley, fresh basil leaves, salt, pepper, garlic powder in olive oil, and while it's sizzling in it's little puddle of loveliness, I add two tablespoons of sugar in the raw. It cuts down on the acidity. And God knows how much Prilosec & Zantac I pop after eating a rich marinara. Oof. As that's sautéing - make sure you don't burn your garlic and start dicing up fresh tomatoes. I use 3-4 depending on the size of the pot. With this one, I'm using a medium size sauce pan. That'll take the sizzling away for a moment...let it heat up and then add 1 cup of low sodium chicken broth. This helps the sauce become lighter and not so thick and clumpy. I add one can of crushed tomatoes (to whatever brand you prefer) and a half a cup of parmesan cheese. Stir.

The next step is important. Use whatever leftover red wine you have, or better yet, if you have that cheap Carlo Rossi delight, (any red table wine will do), pour that stuff in.

While you're heating up your sauce, go ahead and put a little olive oil into a frying pan (just to get it greased up a tad) and throw some chopped meat in there. I can't tell you how much to use, but for us, we usually make a bolognese sauce the day after having burgers, so about a half a pound should be good.

Now get the two hot hot hot...Work those burners!

Make sure the meat is nice & brown before you throw it into the lake of fire.

And also make sure your sauce is bubbling over with joy.

Let the two unite in holy matrimony... 

Let that simmer for a coupla' hours and you got yourself a dish ya' can't refuse. Put it on top of your favorite pasta and dine with someone special. Just remember to pronounce it "bola-nayze" and when you're drinking a merlot -- mer-low. Cabernet? Cabber-nay. ...Capisce??

For Deb's main blog, please visit: www.debrapasquella.com

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