When I am at a loss for what to cook for dinner, I always turn to Italy for inspiration!! I absolutely love Mario Batali and all that he stands for. One of my favorite go-to cookbooks is The Mario Batali Babbo Cookbook. I have so many recipes flagged that I get excited just looking at it. My husband and I couldn't decide on a restaurant we were dying to go to, so I said I would bring the restaurant to us!! I chose Pappardelle bolognese; a beautiful and simple mixed green salad made with a fresh lemon dressing; and some good crusty rolls. Voila - dinner that we would find and the finest restaurants in Fort Collins.
Steps to a romantic dinner for 2!
Step One - fresh tomato paste using garden fresh tomatoes:
4 fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1 T virgin olive oil
Start with fresh tomatoes to make your own tomato paste. Super simple to do. First, slice an x in the bottom of the tomato and take the stem out. Place 4 tomatoes in about 1 inch of boiling water, cover with a lid, reduce the heat, and steam for about 7 minutes. Take the lid off and peel the tomatoes using a knife - they should just slide right off. Now, mash the tomatoes and continue cooking on a simmer for about 35 minutes. Add a pinch of salt; 1 tablespoon of virgin olive oil, and a couple grinds of fresh pepper. This might seem like a tedious task to accomplish, but once you get the hang of it, you will do it all the time. Believe me, you will notice a huge difference in taste!
Step Two - Making the bolognese sauce:
You can use Mario's recipe exactly https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/member/views/mario-batalis-ragu-bolognese-1243581 , or, substitute ingredients on hand like I did.
Modified Recipe (Yield: 6-8 servings)