Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bolognese Sauce - just the thing for a cold winter's night

Sadly, for most of us, the times you are most in need of comfort foods are the same times when you are least likely to have them. You are exhausted or sick or cranky from a crap day at work, and cooking is the last thing you feel like doing, not to mention, most comfort foods require tons of prep work and epic cook times. On one of these such nights, I took a Tyler Florence recipe from Eat this Book and thought I'd see if I could do without. Without cooking it as long as he said, without making enough to feed an army, without making fresh pasta from scratch myself.

Luckily for us, it turns out that you can edit major chunks of time from this recipe and still have a delicious dinner. I've never made it the way Tyler suggests, so if you have a few extra hours lying around, try them both and compare, but as it is, it's delicious.

adapted from Tyler Florence's Pappardelle Bolognese in Eat this Book

olive oil
1/2 an onion, finely chopped
1 carrot peeled and finely chopped (make sure it's really small, you don't want to be biting into giant hunks of carrot)
1 celery stalk finely chopped (I never use this, Ryan hates celery)
2-3 garlic cloves minced
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup dry white wine (I use vermouth)
1 28-oz can of whole peeled tomatoes crushed by hand plus 1 c or more of the liquid in the can.
1 c chicken stock
kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 c milk

In a large pan, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped vegetables and cook about 10 minutes until they are soft but not browned. Raise the heat and add the ground turkey. Brown the turkey, breaking it up into chunks with a wooden spoon. When the meat is no longer pink, add the white wine and simmer until evaporated. Then add the tomatoes, their liquid and the chicken stock. This is where you have to make a decision. The more liquid you add, the longer you'll have to cook it before it's ready to eat. I usually use all or nearly all the liquid in the tomato can plus the one cup of chicken stock and leave it for about 20-30 minutes. After 20 minutes check it, if it seems thick enough, go ahead an add the milk and simmer for another 20-40 minutes. You can probably get away with the lower end of that, but I often just leave it to simmer until I'm ready to eat, so it often goes about 30-40 minutes.

Boil up some water, cook your favorite pasta according to the package directions. I like rigatoni or shells or penne with this, but I know everyone has their own favorite. Drain the pasta and pour over the sauce.

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