Saturday, November 12, 2005

#2 of the One-Pot-Wonders

"Life is like arriving late for a movie, having to figure out what was going on without bothering everybody with a lot of questions, and then being unexpectedly called away before you find out how it ends"

~Joseph Campbell

Dario called me this afternoon and told me to be ready to go tomorrow or Monday. I’ll repack all my stuff when he’s knocking at my door because our departure date has been postponed so many times now that if I have to unpack one more time for a clean pair of underwear and a new tube of toothpaste, I’m going to go totally out of my mind!

In the meantime, I have two pounds of salt-cod soaking in the fridge and some nice smoked Andouille sausage for the cod stew; and on the stove is a big pot of Bolognese sauce.

For the Bolognese, I started off with the usual suspects: Diced carrots, celery, onions, a lot of garlic, canned tomatoes, and tomato sauce. I browned off some diced, smoked slab bacon (because I think that everything benefits with the addition of bacon); some homemade hot and sweet Italian sausage from Los Paisanos, on Smith St. in Brooklyn and some ground beef; drained the extra fat, added a glass of wine (and drank a glass of wine), added back the sweated veggies (and drank another glass of wine) plus two cans of Muir Glenn Organic Crushed Tomatoes and a can of tomato sauce. If Muir Glenn isn’t available, San Marzano or Sclafani are my next choice. I find that Hunts, RedPack and other American brands taste either metallic or overly sweet. I also don’t like to use canned tomatoes that have “Italian Spices”, herbs or a long list of preservatives; the less processing, the better. I threw in a bay leaf, a handful of fresh, chopped oregano, a pinch of pepper flakes, a pinch of cinnamon, black pepper – and of course, salt; but not too much, as the bacon adds a lot of salt too. Cinnamon, when used sparingly in savory dishes, adds a hint of sweetness, accentuates the smokiness of the bacon and adds a warm quality to the dish; but used too liberally and not balanced with other spices can leave an astringent, almost chemical taste and can be really unpleasant.

The Bolognese came out perfect and I had a bowl with some pasta, fresh ricotta (from Fratelli Ravioli, Smith St. in Brooklyn - their ricotta is really yummy), and some torn-up fresh basil leaves on top…

God, if I have to post one more time from my apartment in Brooklyn I’m going to go nuts.

4 comments:

Sue said...

You know, I find I can't whip up an appetite when I've been the one who's done the cooking. You have the same problem ever? On the other hand I can cheerfuly go through a great deal of wine during the cooking... your lines about that reminded me!

The Wayward Chef said...

After staring at something for 3-hours, it's usually the last thing that I feel like eating so I rarely find myself hungry for the things that I've cooked. But in this case, it smelled really good and I was hungry... Ah yes, and wine is essential!

ThursdayNext said...

What do you think about using pancetta instead of bacon in a bolognese? Your blog is both enjoyable and educational; consider me a new fan/follower.

The Wayward Chef said...

Mmmmmm, Pancetta... Probably much closer to "authentic Bolognese", and even better if you can find Guancale or Lardo...

Niman Ranch makes excellent Pancetta, if you can find somewhere that carries it...

I also suggest treking over to the Italian specialty food store in Chelsea Market. I've only had their proscutto - which is sublime compared to anything else I've ever found in this city - and I'm betting their pancetta is equally as delicous...

 
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