Pappardelle Bolognese

October 23, 2017

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

salt; pepper

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 , or, substitute ingredients on hand like I did.  


Modified Recipe (Yield: 6-8 servings)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

4 celery stalks, finely chopped

4 carrots (multi colored) finely chopped

1/2 cup crimini mushrooms sliced thin

5 garlic cloves sliced

1 pound spicy italian ground pork

1/2 pound grass fed ground beef

4 ounces of slab bacon (or pancetta)

1 cup homemade tomato paste (or sub 1 can tomato paste)

1 cup milk

1 cup dry white wine

sea salt; pepper to taste

Italian flat leaf parsley chopped for garnish

Freshly grated parmigianno-reggianno (for serving)


1.  In an 8 quart, heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the veggies and sweat until they are translucent but not browned.  This will take about 5 minutes.  


2.  Add the meats and cook into the vegetables.  Brown over high heat, stirring to deep from burning.  


3.  Add the milk; tomato paste; and wine.  Bring to a boil, then turn down to low to simmer.  Allow to simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Salt and pepper to taste.  


4.  Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 1/2 tablespoons of salt.  Cook the pasta following the directions on the package.  


5.  Drain the pasta and divide evenly among the two plates.  (this recipe is for 6-8 servings, so remember the portion size- you will be so happy there are left-overs) :)


6.  Top the pasta with the ragu; grate some fresh parmigianno-reggianno; sprinkle some parsley; and grind a bit of fresh pepper.  




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