Sunday Pasta®:Tagliatelle alla Bolognese
“Luuuucy, I’m hoooome.” To me, Ricky Ricardo was ethnic; I was just an Italian guy from New Jersey. (Ok, maybe I wore a gold cross, drove a Firebird, had big hair, and my parents (Mario and Ma) called me Eddie, but hey, I wore polo shirts!) So you can imagine the shock I experienced in college when my very, very blonde date ordered spaghetti Bolognese and then picked up her knife and fork and started to cut. Cringing inside, but charming as ever, I smiled and said, “Oooo, please don’t cut your pasta.” She flatly replied, “Don’t get ethnic with me, Ed.” What? Who? Me? Ethnic?
Needless to say, and many years later, I am happily ethnic with my wife and still courageously educating about pasta etiquette. So forgive me for getting ethnic with you, but please leave the knife and the spoon on the table and learn to twirl with a fork! (And yes, if you’re among friends, you can use a little piece of bread for assistance.)
This week’s recipe is delivered courtesy of Dean Caselnova of Caselnova Trattoria in Brooklyn, who learned it during his time in the kitchens of Papa Re Trattoria and Trattoria dalla Gigina in Bologna. It’s the real deal, from Bologna via Brooklyn. Mamma Mia! Now that’s Italian! (Big pinch to right cheek.)
Heat oil over medium flame in heavy bottom pot. Sauté bay leaf, carrot, celery and onion until onion is translucent (be sure not to have flame too high as to add color to onion.) Add ground beef, pork, and prosciutto to sautéed vegetables. Keep flame at medium, and stir the meat with a wooden spoon to break up and mix with vegetables. When meat is nearly all cooked add tomato paste and stir to blend well. Add white wine and simmer until the wine aroma dissipates. Add the can of crushed tomato, plus 1/2 can of water.
Bring flame up to high to bring sauce to a simmer then reduce flame to med/low. Simmer sauce uncovered for approximately 2hours. Adjust seasoning with salt.
(Side note: In Bologna, as in the restaurant, they add the butts of the prosciutto that can't be sliced, ground-up fine. They also add the trimmings of a veal leg that are used for other. These steps are not necessary, and are used to add depth of flavor, but also limit waste in a restaurant. If you would like to add 1/8 lb thinly sliced prosciutto cut into small pieces that would work too.)