Monday, December 1, 2008

Bolognese for a cold house

With Thanksgiving weekend comes the annual Muffin family tradition of closing down the country house. But this of course follows 3 or so days of staying there in the freezing cold. There's a reason we only go out in the summer, basically, there's no central heating and the house is about as airtight as swiss cheese (haha, get it?). So on the first night, when the Muffin parents, Beatz, Maple Leaf, and me were shivering inside an icebox of a house (the temp was about 45 degrees after a few hours of running space heaters) I decided we needed some comfort food, to warm you from the inside. And there's nothing heartier than a Bolognese, in my humble opinion. So I went back to my Williams Sonoma Italian cookbook (one of them) to find the perfect recipe. And voila!

1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small carrot, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
just under 1 lb ground beef
1/2 c fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 c white wine
5-6 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper
1 1/2 lb fresh fettuccine

Place porcini in lukewarm water to cover, soak until softened, approx 20 minutes
Drain and squeeze out excess water, slice
Melt the butter and oil over medium heat
Add the carrot, celery, onion and cook until very tender (15 minutes)
Add beef and 2 tbsp parsley, raise heat to high. Cook 3-4 minutes
Add porcini and wine, cook, stirring often until the wine evaporates
Add the tomatoes, nutmeg, salt, pepper and 1 cup water, reduce heat to low
Stir well, cover and simmer until sauce reduces considerably, at least 1 hour

Toss with fresh pasta and sprinkle remaining fresh parsley over top.