Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Venetian Ragu Spaghetti Bolognese [Zack]

We invited our neighbors over for dinner one night and mentioned that we were going to Venice for Carnival the following weekend.  The first thing they said was, "you have to find our favorite restaurant there.  They make the best ragu ever!"  

There was one small problem.  They loosely knew where to find the restaurant, but forgot the name and the exact address.  The only clues we had were:  it has an all-wooden entrance way and they make amazing buffalo mozzarella in the summer.  

When we got to Venice, we looked for the restaurant for about 45 minutes, got too hungry and gave up.  We had a great meal at another small place and were stuffed.  As my luck goes, turned out of the restaurant, and found the place our neighbors raved about on the next block.  Because we're pigs, I declared we are going to have to find some room to fit a small serving of the famous ragu.  It was delightful!  Meat was very tender and it wasn’t overly sauced.  There wasn’t a huge amount of tomatoes in the sauce and the final finishing touch was a hint of cinnamon in the sauce.  

I figured it would be fun to cook the sauce for our neighbors for the next dinner party and see if they thought it was near to the original.  Consensus was that it was pretty darn close.


Chop and dice all of the veggies for your ragu. 

Start your stock pot on medium heat. When it’s ready, add 1 T of olive oil.

Brown the Beef in batches. If you overcrowd the pot you will steam the beef instead of getting good caramelization. It will take 5-8 mintues per batch.

Once you have finished the beef, remove it to a plate.  Sweat the vegetables in the same pot.  You can add these in one batch and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the beef back in.

Now, add in your tomato sauce, wine, and cinnamon.  Bring to a simmer and cook on low heat for 2-3 hours.

This is what it will look like when it's reduced:

Add in your super fancy Mickey Mouse whole milk to add some silkiness to the sauce.  Cook on low heat for about 15 minutes while you prepare your pasta.

Cook your pasta according to the directions on the package, or make some fresh :)

Toss your pasta with the sauce, top with some parmesean reggiano, and enjoy with a dark Belgian beer (such as the Westvleteren below).

Ingredients: (yields a lot!)

1 lb ~90% Ground Beef
1 lb Ground Pork
¼ cup Diced Carrots
½ cup diced onions
¼ cup diced celery
1 T cinnamon powder or 2 cinnamon sticks (extract sticks when finished)
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 glass red wine
½ cup whole milk
1/3 cup parmesean reggiano
a few Belgian beers to drink with dinner 

Bilal - Slyde

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