Friday, May 21, 2010

Pasta Bolognese

My Mom clipped an article for me, out of a grocery store's magazine, probably late last summer. It was a reader submission section, where one could write a short piece sharing a food related memory. She suggested that I write something and send it in - why not, she said.

It's taken me this long to get around to it. I can be such a fabulous procrastinator when I want to, yes?


I've finally written a piece. And because I waited so long, it doesn't look like the magazine has this reader submitted section anymore. So I'm feeling rather like a balloon that's lost it's air.

you read my article? It's about the Bear, and an exciting milestone he conquered just the other day, and it was all because of some pasta bolognese...

"My son is two and a half years old. He's what some might call 'special needs' or 'challenged'; his main issue is hypopituitarism, which means his body does not produce certain necessary chemicals like yours and mine do.

Due to this deficiency, his development has been somewhat slower than typical kids his age so every milestone is celebrated because it's been achieved, rather than when he achieves it.

When he was born, all the doctors and specialists at the children's hospital insinuated that he would be extremely dependent. Possibly never walking or talking, blindness was a strong possibility and consuming anything other than pureed food wasn't even brought up because it was so far fetched, at that time.

Turns out the specialists were wrong.

Bear is progressing well. Very well, in fact. Yes, he's delayed. We're just fine with that - because he is progressing.

A few days ago the Bear hit a pretty big milestone, in our opinions, anyway. He ate his entire dinner, by himself, with his fingers.

Previously he'd point at his spoon, then at either myself or my husband, communicating that he wanted us to feed him.Not this time. He dug in with both hands and pasta bolognese spread far and wide.

I couldn't have been more excited to see bits of carrot and ground pork on my newly installed hardwood - not to mention every square inch of Bear's face, hair and (thankfully) his dark colored t shirt. I was cheering him on with every meaty handful. He was terribly encouraged by this and joined me in arms-raised excitement.

That pasta bolognese recipe is going down in the memory books as the meal that helped my son reach a long awaited milestone."

Oh! It tasted great too
. Both Matt and I prefer pasta sauces with more of a nod to tomato-y flavor rather than sauces with too much tomato flavor. We feel the tomato sauce should be a binder for the other ingredients, rather than the star of the show. This ragu is perfect for us.

The only adaptation I made to the recipe itself was using cream instead of milk. We also cooled the sauce after its two hour simmer (but before adding the cream) and then refrigerated it overnight - the next day we reheated it slowly and added the cream shortly before serving. Why? The both of us regularly comment on how certain foods taste better the next day and pasta sauce is definitely one of them!

This recipe makes a
lot of ragu. I halved the recipe and had enough sauce to make a big pot of pasta for our dinner, plus leftovers for the Bear and I as well as Matt's lunch the next day - and froze four cups for future meals.

Ragu alla Bolognese
Lemons & Anchovies

2 pounds ground pork

1 pound ground turkey

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

2 - 28 ounce cans crushed tomatoes

1 small can tomato paste

3 ribs celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1 onion, chopped

1/2 cup red wine or chicken stock, plus more if necessary

1/4 cup milk

grated Parmesan for serving

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

Place celery, carrot and onion in a food processor and pulse till finely chopped. Saute the vegetables in olive oil in a large heavy bottomed pan over medium heat for 6-7 minutes. Raise heat to high and add the ground meats. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, breaking up the meats as they cook.

When the meats become a light golden color (approximately 6-8 minutes), add the wine or chicken stock and scrape the bottom of the pan as it deglazes. Cook until the wine has almost reduced then add the tomato paste, tomatoes and more wine or stock if needed. Bring to a boil then simmer about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Add the milk during the last half hour of cooking.

At this time the sauce will be a medium thick consistency. If it's too dry, add more wine or stock. If it's not thick enough, allow to simmer longer to reduce and thicken.

Serve over your favorite pasta.
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  1. That warmed my heart.

  2. That is just wonderful!! :) I know I'm late, but congratulations on the milestone!! :)


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