Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pasta with Bolognese Sauce

We had Pasta with Bolognese Sauce from Cook's Illustrated New Best Recipe Cookbook for dinner tonight.  This was something new for all of us to try, and it was different than I expected it to be, and it was a fun change for us.  I think we'll probably stick to our normal meaty tomato sauce, but this was a great change.  I like that it is sweeter and less tomatoe-y, and I like how much meat there was.  We all gave it an 8, and for 1/8 of the total the calories were 405.  Here's the recipe:
Pasta with Bolognese Sauce
1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms (I used dried oyster mushrooms, since that's all I could find)
1/2 c water
1 1/4 c sweet white wine (I used 1 c chicken broth and 1/4 c wine vinegar)
1/2 small carrot, peeled
1/2 small onion, peeled
3 oz pancetta (I used 3 slices bacon)
28 oz canned tomatoes
1 1/2 T unsalted butter
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 t sugar
1 1/4 lbs ground meat (I used 1 lb ground beef)
1 1/2 c whole milk
2 T tomato paste
1/8 t pepper
1 lb pasta (I used 1/2 lb pasta)
Freshly grated parmesan cheese for serving

1. Rinse the dried porcini mushrooms in a small strainer under cool running water; drain.  Add the mushrooms and water to a small bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap, cut several steam vents in the plastic wrap with a paring knife, and microwave on high power for 30 seconds.  Let stand until the mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes.  Lift the mushrooms from the liquid with a fork and mince.  Pour the liquid through a small strainer lined with a single sheet of paper towel set over a measuring cup.  Reserve the mushrooms and strained soaking liquid separately.
2. Bring the wine to simmer in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat; reduce the heat to low and simmer until the wine is reduce to 2 T, about 20 minutes.  Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, pulse the carrot in a food processor, about 10 1-second pulses.  Add the onion; pulse until the vegetables are broken down into 1/8 inch pieces, about ten 1-second pulses.  Transfer the vegetables to a small bowl.  Process the softened mushrooms until well ground, about 15 seconds.  Transfer the porcini to the bowl with the carrot and onion.  Process the pancetta until the pieces are no longer than 1/4 inch, 30-35 seconds; transfer to a small bowl.  Pulse the tomatoes with their juice until chopped fine, six to eight 1-second pulses.
4.  Heat the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat; when the foaming subsides, add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until well browned, about 2 minutes.  Add the carrot, onion, and porcini; cook, stirring frequently, until well browned, about 2 minutes.  Add the carrot, onion, and porcini; cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are softened but not browned, about 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and sugar; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the ground meat, breaking the meat into 1-inch pieces with a wooden spoon, about 1 minute.  Add the milk and stir to break the meat into 1/2-inch bits; bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium and continue to simmer, stirring to break up the meat into small pieces, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the meat begins to sizzle, 18-20 minutes.  Stir in the tomato paste and cook until combined, about 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes, reserved porcini soaking liquid, 1/4 t salt, and the pepper; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the liquid is reduced and the sauce is thickened but still moist, 12-15 minutes.  Stir in the reduced wine and simmer to blend the flavors, about 5 minutes.
5.  Meanwhile, bring water to a boil, add 1 T salt and the pasta of your choice.  Cook until al dente.  Drain, reserving 1/4 c pasta cooking water and put pasta in serving dish.  Add the cooking water and 2 c sauce; toss well.  Divide the pasta between individual bowls and top with more sauce.  Serve immediately , passing the parmesan separately.

This is nice because unlike traditional bolognese sauce, this can be made in an hour, and so it works as a weeknight meal if desired.  We all liked it, and it was fun to try a new sauce.

Monday we're having the shrimp.

1 comment:

  1. What kind of pasta did you use? It looks too big for rotini? Mom