Jun 5, 2008

Pasta Bolognese My Way

Earlier this year my parents came out to visit us in Washington state. We went to Seattle for dinner one night and ate at this wonderful place called The Pink Door http://www.thepinkdoor.net/ . I ordered some homemade spinach lasagna, Jarrod ordered some sort of pork chop, and upon the servers reccomendation my parents both ordered pasta bolognese. I don't eat beef but of course I've heard of the dish, it's pasta with meat sauce I thought. BIg deal. But all my parents kept saying was "this is so good" and had Jarrod give it a try which had him saying the same thing.
   So ever since I've been wondering the big deal is. This weekend I whipped out the ol pasta machine and decided to make my own version to see if it was any good. The recipe sounds so simple I couldn't imagine what was so great about it. So first I made a wheat noodle version of tagliatelle, since that's the type of noodle the dish was served with at the restaurant. Tagliatelle is a wide egg noodle, wider than fettucine.
Then I made my own version of the sauce after reading several different highly rated recipes of the beef version, I adapted them to make my own recipe. The sauce smelled wonderful cooking and the noodles were a pain to make, as is all homemade pasta, but well worth the effort as always.
While you don't have to make your own noodles, I highly reccomend you buy fresh made noodles or at the very least, get those fettucine noodles in the refrigerated section to make this dish. The results were out of this world yummy, I don't know why because the ingredients are very simple. I do admit that the use of milk in the sauce seemed very weird to me and I was skeptical, but not anymore. From now on this will be a treat in our house.

Cara's Pasta "Bolognese"
Serves 4-6

For the Noodles Makes 1 1/4 pounds.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
1 cup whole wheat flour
5 large eggs

Mound flour in center of a large work surface, and make a well in the middle. Crack eggs into the well. Using a fork, beat eggs; slowly incorporate flour, beginning with inner rim of well. When flour is incorporated, gather dough together to form a rounded mass. Begin kneading dough with the palms of your hands. Once dough comes together, scrape up any dried bits of dough; discard. Lightly flour work surface; knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Wrap dough in plastic wrap; rest for 30 minutes at room temperature before using. Divide dough into 4 pieces; keep 3 pieces covered with a slightly damp kitchen towel. Flatten dough to a shape somewhat narrower than pasta machine opening. Lightly dust dough with flour. Feed through machine's widest setting. As pasta emerges, gently support it with your palm and guide it onto the work surface.
Fold dough in thirds; roll out again. Repeat process 5 times. Pass pasta through the next finer setting, repeating the folding and rolling process 6 times. At the third setting, repeat process only 3 times. If pasta sheet becomes too long to work with easily, cut it into 2 pieces. Dust pasta lightly with flour to prevent sticking, if necessary. Roll dough through progressively thinner settings, without folding, until you have reached the thinnest or next-to-thinnest setting. Using the widest-cut attachment of the pasta machine, cut pasta sheets into 1/2-inch wide strips. To cut pasta by hand, cut each pasta sheet into 10-inch lengths. Brush lightly with flour, roll up sheet, and, using a sharp knife, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips; unroll. Use tagliatelle immediately, or dry on a floured work surface and store in an airtight container for up to three days.

For the Sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped fine
4-6 cloves garlic, minced
3 carrots, chopped fine
3 celery ribs, chopped fine
1/2 pound ground lean turkey
1/2 pound Hot Italian Turkey Sausage, removed from casings
1 cup milk (any FF, 2%, whole, whatever you prefer)
freshly grated nutmeg to taste
1 cup dry white wine
 28- to 32-ounce can whole tomatoes including juice
 1/2 cup tomato sauce

**To make a vegetarian (lacto/ovo) version use Gimme Lean Veggie Sausage grounds and/or Veggie meat grounds in place of the turkey. I am sure it will be just as tasty!

In large heavy saucepan heat oil over moderately high heat and sauté onion, carrot, and celery, stirring 2 minutes. Add turkey and turkey sausage and cook, stirring, 2 minutes, or until meat is no longer pink. Season mixture with salt and pepper.
Add milk and nutmeg and cook, stirring, until most milk is evaporated, about 10 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is evaporated, about 10 minutes.
In a blender or food processor coarsely purée tomatoes with juice and stir into sauce with tomato sauce.
Cook sauce at a bare simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 1 hour and 15 minutes (sauce will be thickened) and season with salt and pepper. Sauce may be made ahead and cooled, uncovered, before being chilled, covered, 2 days or frozen 1 month. In an 8-quart kettle bring 7 quarts salted water to a boil.
Cook pasta until al dente (about 6 minutes for fresh, longer for dried) and drain in a colander. In a heated large bowl immediately toss pasta with sauce. This is essential to toss the pasta with sauce because the noodles will absorb some of the flavor.

After making this I've decided I need to get an electric pasta machine. That hand cranker is quite a pain in the ass after awhile!

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