No CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture) bag today. No board meeting, no presentation, no rehearsal this evening, all called for snow, sigh. Time to make spaghetti sauce and warm the kitchen with a slow simmering pot, most of the day! And it smells grand! I couldn’t find my recipe, went looking in the paper versions, remember those?
I made a Marcella Hazan Bolognese last year and fed the freezer, for many easier evenings after long days away. I used to cook more in bulk when I was feeding more of a crowd. It is simpler now with just a couple again, but still fun to feed the freezer and free myself for binge- sewing, reading, the other stuff in this blog. 😉
So I cleaned out the veggie bins, asked my sweetie, who has a 4wd, to get some of the local hormone-free, extra special ground beef on sale this week, and off to the kitchen! Marcella’s Bolognese calls for the gentlest of simmering, over 5 hours, optimally, with the meat gently warmed in milk. I’d have never thought it, but it is okay. Here’s my recipe, a hybrid by necessity & for fun :
Get a big pot. I used a 13 qt. Le Creuset. Warm a cup each of butter and nice olive oil, then, on low heat, sweat these peeled and chopped veggies in it:
~2 cups of onion
~ a lb. of carrots
a couple of golden beets
a bunch of Toscano Kale (stems too)
1/2 a head of minced garlic
6 c. bell peppers, various colors
1 c. mushrooms, wish I’d had more
When they are all getting warm and just a tad cozy (not browning!), start to break the ground beef into the pot. It took a while, so stirring it in every so often helps. As it begins to cook, the color fades but it stays very soft. Add the milk and very slowly let it come to a low simmer, what somebody called just a “smile”. The milk should mostly steam away.
Those amounts are:
5 lbs. ground beef
3 cups of milk
Then add the tomatoes, pesto, oregano, pepper and wine. Come back and stir often, but on low, it should reduce very slowly.
3 qts. of chopped roma tomatoes (I used mine canned last fall)
1 bottle of wine, Marcella uses white, today I used red
1 T. each of dried oregano and ground black pepper
~1/2 cup of homemade pesto from the freezer
Meanwhile, the snow swirled outside, we fed the hummingbirds, got stuff done around the house, and noted that appointments, meetings, various schedules teetered and fell victim to safety concerns with the roads really slippery. Igor shoveled the driveway, came in and read journals. When he got discouraged that his shoveling was covered by new snow, I went out and shoveled.
The sauce is nearly reduced, a good seven hours. I snatched some for lasagna for two, with bake in the dish pasta. Some kale tart filling from 101 Cookbooks last summer went into the eggy, cheesy part. The kitchen is comfortable, not enough to make us feel guilty for overdoing it. The sauce will flavor many different meals, more like a condiment than a main feature. This is traditional winter cooking. Buon appetito!