Monday, July 23, 2012

Sunday Dinner: Spaghetti with Bolognese Sauce

Spaghetti topped with Bolognese--before additional cheese and basil are added!

“Spaghetti? I was dreaming about Spaghetti!”  That was my dad’s comment when I told him what I was making.  Funny that while I was at the beach today (ah—such an amazing day at the beach!) I had a craving for Bolognese sauce. Ironically, I was introduced to this Italian-born meat-based tomato sauce in Peru; it was (is?) quite popular there. Well, this—the one I created today—is an interpretation based on what I have/bought and what’s in season. Mind you I made a parallel totally NON-Bolognese sauce (Farmers’ Market choice pics!) as well…

Both dishes were big hits—and that, along with a leafy green salad (all greens/cucumbers from the Farmers’ Market)  topped with a light white-balsamic vinaigrette, garlic bread (thanks to my lovely guests), and brownies for dessert worked fine for this Sunday summer’s eve dinner. Best of all: my dad—and mom—were very happy…. (OK, my kids, husband, and guests were, too!)

The alternate veggie sauce! 

The red onions gain so much additional flavor from the red wine....
Bolognese Sauce (my interpretation!)

Olive oil
2 large red onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
red wine
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound  (lean) ground beef  (I prefer minimally processed, with no antibiotics, etc.)
1 pound veal (optional!)
1 pound homemade sausage meat (optional…I’m lucky that it’s made locally!)
1 large can crushed tomatoes
2 cups fresh tomatoes, puréed
1 can tomato paste
2 bay leaves
Fresh basil (at least 15 leaves, coarsely chopped)

In a large pot (that you’ll use for cooking the sauce), heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the red onions and sauté until softened, just a few minutes. Add about 1/2 cup of red wine and cook, over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until most of the wine is absorbed. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan, heat a bit of oil. Add the three meats and brown.
After the meat is cooked (about 20 minutes), drain the fat, and add it to the onion mixture.

Add the crushed tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, and tomato paste. Mix well. Add about 1/4 cup more of red wine, and a few basil leaves. Cover and simmer, over low heat, for about one hour, stirring from time to time. Taste, correct seasoning. Add more basil. Serve atop cooked spaghetti (or your favorite pasta!) with freshly grated parmesan and additional basil, as desired. 

And a reminder--with hopes that you'll be able to join us! 

Thursday July 26, 6pm – 7:30pmIn the Kitchen with Arlen /En La Cocina con Arlen    From preparing a small soirée for close friends & family, to making an intimate dinner for two, entertaining should be satisfying, not stressful! Arlen, cookbook author, teacher & home chef will share her tips for entertaining Latin style. Sumptuous sips & light treats from her cookbooks will be shared!    La Casa Azul Bookstore
143 E. 103rd Street, New York, NY 10029, Phone: (212) 426 – 2626Let me know if you can make it! 

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