July 16, 2008

Classic Bolognese! Mange!

In the heart of NYC's Little Italy is a great little eatery, Amici II. It's a little gem in a sea of Italian food- and their bolognese is the best I have ever tasted. I wanted to recreate the taste so I turned to.....you guessed it......Cook's Illustrated. This is their Classic Bolognese Sauce.

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons minced onion
4 tablespoons minced carrot
4 tablespoons minced celery
1/2 pound each ground beef chuck, ground veal, and ground pork
2 cups whole milk
1 cup dry white wine
2 cans whole tomatoes (28 oz.) , packed in juice, chopped fine, with juice reserved

Heat butter in large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven over medium heat; add onion, carrot, and celery and sautè until softened but not browned, about 6 minutes.

Add ground meat and 1 teaspoon salt; crumble meat with edge of spatula to break apart into tiny pieces. Cook, continuing to crumble meat, just until it loses its raw color but has not yet browned, about 3 minutes.

Add milk and bring to simmer; continue to simmer until milk evaporates and only clear fat remains, 30 minutes. Add wine and bring to simmer; continue to simmer until wine evaporates, 30 minutes longer.

Add tomatoes and their juice and bring to simmer; reduce heat to low so that sauce continues to simmer just barely, with an occasional bubble or two at the surface, until liquid has evaporated, about 4 hours. Adjust seasonings with extra salt to taste and serve. When draining the pasta, leave some water on the noodles- and add a couple of tablespoons of butter to the draining noodles- this, in addition to some parmesan cheese on top of the sauce, will help the sauce coat the pasta noodles.

As you can see, it's easy- just time consuming. You add liquid three times and wait for it to be absorbed each time. I think the secret to the Amici's taste I was looking for was simmering the meat in milk. This isn't kosher Italian, folks. But it is wonderful- the flavors of the tender flavor infused crumbly meat do the talking. The recipe above is doubled- if you halve it, simmer each time for 10-15 minutes instead of 30, and after the tomatoes simmer for 3 hours instead of 4. You know how pasta sauce is always better after being frozen? That's precisely why I doubled it, to have even better sauce in a couple of weeks with another box of fettucine. That is if I can wait a couple of weeks for another pranzo squisito...and the eggs.


Anonymous said...

this looks so good!

Suzanne said...

You need to make your own pasta now. I've done it and it is quite easy. The hardest part is kneading the dough as it can be quite firm.

Anonymous said...

i second that comment. can't wait to try it.


JB said...

That looks a lot like my meatloaf recepe. hmmm
but yummier.