Sunday, November 22, 2015

On spaghetti bolognese

So often,  I rush through everything.   I have never been one of those people who are "mindful" and in the moment.  Instead of savoring and enjoying the present, I am checking off items off my to do list.  Sadly, this can even happen with food.  I will find myself quickly shoveling food into my mouth so that I can go on to the next task of doing to the dishes, as opposed to appreciating each delicious bite of the meal in front of me.  

Yet I am a different person when it comes to this dish.  I find myself lingering over this dinner. Each bite is enjoyed instead of hurried through.  

During the bustle and chaos of the day, I sadly find myself losing enthusiasm for food.  For trying new things, for making and creating exciting new meals to enjoy.  The rhythm of checking off things on the to-do list squeezes out that lust, I suppose.

But this dish - this is something special.

It is a dish to love and rather than getting though dinner so that I can clean it up, I go back to the pot for more - enjoying the sensation of dipping leftover noodles into the sauce and surreptitiously squirreling them away in my stomach.  

Ever since being pregnant with Molly, I have lost the desire to eat garlic and onion.  So I make this bolognese without them, a heresy to my former self.  Yet somehow it is flavorful enough that you don't notice the missing alliums.  Or at least I don't think you do.  Its meatiness makes up for it.

We have been enjoying this with spaghetti, as the long strands are caressed by the sauce and wrap themselves around whatever they can find - a mushroom piece, a spiced bit of meat slathered canoodling with a carrot - creating a delicious pasta cocoon for the sauce. and a restoration of my love for food and life.

olive oil
4 celery stalks, diced
2-3 carrots, diced
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, chopped
1/4 teaspoon ground dried porcini mushroom
1/4 teaspoon soy sauce
salt and pepper
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
generous grating fresh nutmeg
1 pound ground beef
1/2 pound ground pork
6 ounces tomato paste
28 ounces crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup beef broth
1 cup red wine
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cover the bottom of a large pot or dutch oven with a coating olive oil.  add the celery and carrots.  Over low heat, allow them to soften - about 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a skillet.  add the mushrooms.  Brown them, sprinkling them with the dried mushroom powder, salt, and pepper.  once brown, remove from heat and splash with the soy sauce.

Once the celery and carrots have softened, add the cinnamon, clove, bay leaves, italian seasoning, and nutmeg.  Stir.  add the meats and turn the heat to medium-high.  Once the meats have cooked stir in the tomato paste.  Add the crushed tomatoes, beef broth and red wine.  turn to high, and reduce.  Once the wine has reduced, simmer for 1-2 hours.  add cream and cheese then serve with spaghetti.

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