I'm turning cooking into the coolest weekend gimmick.In an attempt to limit eating out, ToT decided to make SaturDate a Cooking In Date.
Since Mr. S is undoubtedly a Bolognese snob, I had to consult three different cookbooks to get familiar with cooking the Ragu sauce. One of them is the official Cookbook of Ristorante Za Za in Florence, given to me by a friend who had also studied in Florence.
I was too confused on which recipe to follow, so I decided to wing it and make my own ToT version of the classic Italian dish. Let me share with you how to make a delicious meal of Fettucine Bolognese, Mozzarella Bruschetta and Garlic & Rosemary Roasted Baby Potatoes, as well as how easy it is to make when you have someone else helping you.
For the Bolognese sauce, start with some White Onions, Carrots & Celery, the essential trifecta to making most sauces
I also used 200 grams each of ground pork and beef. For some reason, this combination gives a very robust meaty flavor.
Other ingredients include: Olive oil, Butter, 1 cup of Milk, Some Dry White Wine, Tomato Paste, 1 can of Chopped Tomatoes, about 1 liter of Beef Broth. And... a lot of time :)
Of course, I didn't want to cry, so Mr. S had the sad job of dicing up the onions. Ahh... manual labor.
Make sure the veggies are diced up in uniformed size, not too chunky but not too fine.
Then, heat up some Olive Oil and Butter in medium heat.
Lightly saute the onions for a few minutes until they turn translucent
After 2 minutes, add the Celery & Carrots and coat them with the butter/oil til they become soft.
Add the ground up pork and beef, while keeping the heat to medium.
Season with some Salt & Pepper, then wait til the meat loses its redness and is turning brown.
After the meat has browned, pour about a cup of whole milk and let it evaporate til the liquid disappears.
Then pour a generous amount of dry white wine and let the alcohol cook through completely.
Around this time, the pot is beginning to smell like heaven.
Once the liquid has dissolved, add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and the broth. Let it boil for 1 minute, then turn down the heat to simmer. This is when patience is needed, because it must simmer uncovered for about an hour or so til the liquid disappears.
While waiting for the Bolognese to cook, I decided to give a little cooking lesson for Mr. S to prepare the Garlic Rosemary Roasted Baby Potatoes. First start with halved baby potatoes and soak them in water for 10 minutes.
Then drain the potatoes and mix together olive oil, one whole crushed garlic (LOVE garlic), 3 sprigs of rosemary leaves, sea salt & pepper.
Mr. S seems to be enjoying the lesson.
Place the potatoes on the oven at 400 degrees. I was lazy and used the toaster oven. Place a little bit of water in the pan to steam the potatoes while roasting them at the same time.
After 20 minutes, the potatoes should be ready and golden brown
Sprinkle some Parmesan Cheese on top of the potatoes, and it will become a flavorful side dish to any meal
And since we were still hungry, and still waiting for the sauce to thicken, I decided to make some Bruschetta Pizzette. All you need are good Roma tomatoes, fresh Basil, one clove of garlic sliced, Sea Salt & freshly ground Pepper. Chop the tomatoes and basil up, mix them together, and that's the topping for the Bruschetta.
I wanted to try a different version of the Bruschetta so used Whole Wheat Pita Pockets stuffed with some mozzarella cheese in the middle. Heat each side in a pan to melt the cheese and make the bread a little crispy.
Then top with the tomato mixture and voila! Instant healthy snack that's like a Pizza and Bruschetta in one.
After a lot of waiting, simmering, taste-testing and the like, the sauce is finished! Make sure that you stir in between so the separated fat gets mixed in the sauce and thickens it up.
It doesn't look so saucy, but it is definitely tasty and is the "dry" kind of ragu found in authentic Italian trattorias.
Placed on a bowl, it looked like the nostalgic bowl of spaghetti that you had as a child.
And I won't lie, the Bolognese was a really filling meal which made the 2 hour wait worthwhile and made us so groggy right after because we finished our big bowls. Cooking is a great way to interact with someone in the kitchen and entertain guests on a weekend when you are tired of going out to drink, eat or movie.
YUM! Hope you try the recipes out for yourselves :)