Winter Mix

sizzle

We generally try to go with meatless dinners on Monday nights, but yesterday brought nearly a foot of snow to our part of little Rhody, so we knew from the start it was going to be a different kind of day. I attempted to head downtown to the train station and from there up to Boston in the morning, but I didn’t make it far before turning around and heading back home again. It was a snow day, for us and for many others, a day for hunkering down indoors, making bacon and eggs for breakfast, having a beer with lunch, and for taking on a little project cooking.

I’ve made fresh pasta and Bolognese sauce more times than I can count, but after stumbling across an episode of Tyler’s Ultimate yesterday afternoon, I decided to mix my usual method up a bit. I didn’t follow his recipe exactly (surprise, surprise), but I did incorporate a couple of his ideas, frying stems of fresh herbs in olive oil to infuse it with their flavor; and grinding onions, carrots, garlic and reconstituted dried porcini in the food processor to make a flavorful base for the sauce.

ribbons

I used my usual combination of two parts ground beef (grass-fed, from Aquidneck Farm) to one part ground pork (the last of our stash from Bobolink), as well as a cup each of white wine and whole milk, and a big can of San Marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand, along with their juice. I added a little dried marjoram as well, and salted a little at a time, tasting and tweaking as the sauce cooked.

Dinner:  March 2, 2009

The pot perked away at a low bubble for a few hours, filling the house with a wonderful aroma, made better by the addition of the herbs and porcini. The resulting sauce was some of my best ever, with a fine-grained, delicate texture and rich flavor. A dollop of fresh ricotta added at the end sent it over the top.

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10 thoughts on “Winter Mix

  1. I always fry herbs as a garnish over pasta sauces! It is soooo good. I made a pork shoulder ragu on Sunday and the house smelled amazing! Something about simmering a sauce on the stove all day long reminds me of being lazy and snow days.

  2. Jenn, how long do you let the noodles dry before you boil them? Also, I’m jealous of either your rolling pin skeelz or your pasta roller, because that tagliatelle looks so perfectly thin and gorgeous.

  3. Jennifer Hess says:

    Anticiplate – We’ve been looking forward to doing pork shoulder again soon, too. And I do love the fried herbs – great intense flavor and crisp texture!

    Laura Grace – I only let these dry briefly – maybe 10-15 minutes? I gave them a very light dusting of Wondra, too, which helped to dry them out. The pasta roller is an attachment for our Kitchen Aid stand mixer, and I love it. I used a hand crank machine for years, and this is so much easier.

  4. lo says:

    Oooh. This looks amazing.
    If you ask me, there’s nothing a bit of homemade pasta can’t fix. And fried herbs… well, they make me swoon.

  5. Argh. Jealous. My mother ALMOST got me the pasta roller attachment for Christmas, but the Amazon page had some seriously terrible reviews, so I balked. Grr…

  6. maris says:

    I’m pretty sure there’s nothing better than pasta with fresh meat sauce and ricotta cheese – anything is delicious with ricotta cheese!!

  7. Nothing like a snowy day as an excuse to eat delicious, rib-sticking food, especially one with a sauce that has to cook all afternoon.

    Fabulous blog–I just found you today, and I’ll keep reading!

  8. that last photo has me drooling from miles away! wow, i love fresh ricotta on top of any pasta — but this really looks amazing. i must try this once i’m back in the states!

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