My sweet 'little' sister, Jacqueline (who is actually 6 months younger than my daughter) gifted me with the cookbook, Hudson Valley Mediterranean by Laura Pensiero. Jacq helps run a quaint little bookstore in the Hudson Valley. She knows I'm always on the lookout for new regional cookbooks (especially from the area we grew up in), and the minute this one came in, she scooped up a copy for her older sister (moi).
The book has fantastic recipes along with several beautiful color photos of the food, many from the restaurant Ms. Pensiero owns, Gigi. I've already tried the grilled steak and arugula salad with parmesan shards & lemon vinaigrette - delicious! Today, with temperatures in the low 60's (a big cool down for the Dallas area) and rain off and on all day, it was perfect for something homey and comforting. So, I turned to this beautiful cookbook and found a recipe for Bolognese and a homemade tagliatelle that suited me to a 'T'!!
The house filled with the wonderful aromas of the meats and vegetables melding into a delicious Bolognese sauce. My sister-in-law, Amy, has been practicing her homemade pasta making skills with my pasta machine, so I decided to roll out the pasta dough by hand. No problem. I ended up cutting it into lengths not quite as wide as pappardelle but wider than fettucine/tagliatelle. It was just right with the sauce. This is the kind of cooking autumn days were made for!
Gigi Tagliatelle Bolognese
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1 pound Italian extra-fine 00 flour or cake flour (3 cups)
4 large eggs
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon salt
Cornmeal, for dusting the pasta
*Note: Two pounds of store-bought fresh fettucine can be used in place of the homemade tagliatelle.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1 pound ground pork; or 8 ounces ground pork and 8 ounces pancetta, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 small onion, minced
1/2 stalk celery, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup beef, veal, or chicken stock, or reduced-sodium broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
One 28-ounce can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes, with juice
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup whole milk (optional)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (optional)
1/3 cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmesan cheese
The cookbook has you make the pasta by hand, but I threw all the pasta ingredients in the food processor and pulsed the mixture until it formed a ball, then kneaded it a few times, wrapped it in plastic wrap, and refrigerated it for 30 minutes. After the 3o minutes, run the pasta through the pasta machine per usual instructions, or roll out by hand until sheet of pasta is very thin. Cut into tagliatelle/fettucine, place on parchment-lined baking sheet, and toss with some cornmeal to prevent sticking until ready to cook.
To prepare the Bolognese sauce, heat the olive oil in a large pot over high heat. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up the chunks with a wooden spoon, until it is evenly browned, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a bowl and set aside.
Return the pot to medium heat and add the pork. Cook, stirring frequently, until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add the carrot, onion, celery, and garlic and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes. Return the ground beef to the pot. Add the wine, stock, tomato paste, tomatoes, thyme, rosemary, half of the parsley, and the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Lower the temperature to a slow simmer, cover, and cook for 40 minutes.
For a creamier, thicker Bolognese sauce, whisk just enough of the milk into the flour to make a creamy paste. Whisk in the remaining milk, and then pour the mixture into the simmering Bolognese sauce; cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes. (I didn't add the milk/flour mixture. I loved it sans the thickening agent.) The sauce can be stored, covered and refrigerated, for up to 4 days, or freeze in a quart container for up to 2 months. If cooking the pasta immediately, keep the sauce at a low simmer.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain, and quickly return the pasta to the pot (it should have some cooking water on it.) Add the hot Bolognese sauce, the cheese and the remaining parsley, and stir or toss to combine. Serve immediately, piping hot.
Source: Hudson Valley Mediterranean, copyright 2009
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