When I die I want to go to pasta heaven. I guess I really don't have to die though, because pasta heaven is right here. I learned this recipe in Costa Rico many years ago taught to me by an old Italian gentleman.
The meat lineup. Ham hocks, smoked pork chops, pancetta, pork necks, pepperoni and salt pork which has been soaked in warm water and cut into small cubes. Who knew heaven was made of pork! In addition to this you will need a pound each of ground beef, pork and veal.
Dice the pancetta into small dice.
Melt a bit of bacon grease and olive oil in a heavy large pot.
Soak some dried mushrooms in hot water.
Brown the salt pork until crisp.
Push the salt pork to the side and add the pancetta. Fry until crisp and remove it from the pot and set it aside.
Dice up about 4 carrots.
Peel one large onion.
Dice about 4 stalks of celery.
This is the salt pork and pancetta after it has been removed from the pot.
Dice 2 red peppers.
And quite a bit of garlic.
Saute the garlic with the unions until translucent.
Add the rest of the diced vegetables and cook until they begin to soften. Don't over cook them.
Dice the rehydrated mushrooms and save the liquid.
Thinly slice 2 bulbs of fennel.
Add the fennel to the vegetables and saute until softened.
Push the veggies to the side and add the ground meats and brown them. None of these flavors are noticeable when the sauce is finished. The just add depth of flavor.
This is one of the secrets to a great bolognese...chicken livers! Add about 4-5 diced up raw livers. This enriches the sauce tremendously. Also add 3 anchovies mashed up to a paste.
Mix them in and they will eventually disintegrate. You would never know they were there.
I always add some slivered pepperoni. This step was taught to me by an old Italian woman I knew long ago.
Pour in the strained liquid left from the mushrooms.
Then add the reserved pancetta and salt pork.
Stir everything to blend.
Then sink the meats into this mixture.
Just push them all down into the mix.
Add 2 cups of dry red full bodied wine.
If you can get Muir Glen products where you live, you are lucky! They are the best and I try to always use them. Add 2 cans of fire roasted crushed tomatoes.
Add some beef stock to thin all of this.
I always add some beef demi glace. This also adds to the richness of the bolognese.
Add fresh bay leaves, thyme and rosemary.
Fresh ground pepper.
And a very good grating of nutmeg.
Cover and place in a 250 degree oven for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally.
Sorry about the picture quality here.
I think I forgot to turn the lights on. You can see how rich and thick it is. Remove the ham hocks, pork necks and chops and throw them away. They have done their job. The next secret is to add about a cup of cream. Stir it in to blend and refrigerate for a day or two to allow the flavors to develop. And this gives you time to make the homemade pasta I posted yesterday.
You must serve garlic toast too. This is my very easy recipe. Soften butter and add chopped garlic.
I chop about 8 cloves because I am making a lot.
Take some fresh parsley.
And chop it very fine.
Mix the garlic and parsley into the butter and add some salt and pepper.
Mix until it is very creamy.
Spread it on slices of bread...I used a bagette.
Broil it until it is golden.
Groans were emitted when everyone dug into this. Good Groans!!! You can see that I broke the pasta into big flakes. It picks the sauce up much better when shaped this way. I spent quite a bit of time in Milan and this is very typical of a pasta dish you would get in a restaurant there.
It didn’t help at all :-)
10 minutes ago