It’s a seven-hour haul, but but once it hits your palette, you’ll see why it was worth it.
Slow cooking becomes an obsession once you get a taste for it – literally and figuratively. My first long haul was centered around a dish called Pasta Alla Genovese.
That one took 13 hours to make, I s**t you not.
This one took half as long, which is still certifiably insane, but oh so good. It takes me back to ancestral lands where tomatoes were first cultivated under the splendid sun, the fertile soils and untainted rains of Mexico…
You’re not reading that wrong. Tomatoes, my friend, did not originate in Italy. Columbus and the explorers brought this staple back to the new world post 1493. Read that fact again – Italian food never featured tomatoes until after 1493. This vegetable was mastered by the Mayans, Aztecs and Native Americans who thrived in Central America. If that fact blows your mind, check out Charles Mann’s book, 1491.
It even goes further – the tomato was an inedible vegetable that grew at high elevations in South America. That is until someone brought seeds over the Andes mountains and the Central Americans figured how to cultivate it for regular consumption.
But I digress! The following dish comes straight from the pages of Food Wishes, and vlogger Chef John. I simply cannot get enough of this guy. His Bolognese sauce recipe is easy to follow and it includes three unique elements:
- The use of nutmeg.
- Milk, which dials down the acidity.
- White wine, used in tandem with San Marzano tomatoes, provides a different flavor.
The best part if the recipe called for San Marzano tomatoes, which he regularly recommends. Crushing them, of course, is a whole lot of fun and my son appeared someone delusional and obsessed once he got his hands in the bowl. How could I not let him? Come on, this is a perfect cooking job for a kid!
You brown the meat and veggies and then boil down the milk, then the wine until it’s rendered into the dish itself. The Tomatoes go next and water, then you let it cook down over the next 4-6 hours.
I’ve recommended before the use of a fat separator, which I highly recommend as this extracts some (but not all) of the fats. Your cardiologist will thank you for doing so
I doubled the dish as we had several guests and it was a wise move. The other trick that Chef John recommends – never dump the sauce on plain pasta, cook it like a pro. Use a frying pan to blend al dente pasta and sauce over medium heat. This also enables one to add extra cheese during this step and after before you serve it.
The mistake I made: I didn’t cook it long enough. My people were hungry, so sue me! I would let this one go the full six hours, adding water as needed. I went 4 ½ hours and then caved in to hungry mouths.
But it was enjoyed. Some warm French bread and a killer cabernet sauvignon, you cannot go wrong.
It’s the perfect dish on a cold December day, when the winds hallow from the north and your soul runs amuck in search of a warm and comforting nook in which to relax.
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