Wish Upon A Dish: Conchiglie Bolognese

April 22, 2013

Conchiglie Bolognese

I think shells have to be up there with wagon wheels as one of kids favorite pasta shapes. I was always a corkscrew kid but The Nudge, well, he loved his shells. I guess a shrink would say that just about described our marriage. I'm a screwball and he's a hugger.

I noticed that he's been requesting his fav for some time now but not a shell in the house. We aren't talking about stuffed shells, he likes those that are about 1" in size.
Shells and meat sauce. As simple as that.
I gave in. It's nice to let him have one every now and then.

When I think hearty meat sauce I immediately think Bolognese. Yummy!
Usually made with a meatloaf mix, all I had was sausage and ground beef. It would do.

Making a meat sauce is so easy and requires basic ingredients.... Good quality canned tomatoes, a food processor, four cloves of peeled garlic, half a white onion, a chopped carrot, two hot Italian sausages (skinned, of course) and a half pound of ground meat. Place the veggies into the bowl of a processor and pulse until it is chopped down to a mince. Remove the contents to a bowl and drop in the tomatoes.
Pour the puréed tomatoes into a strainer that is resting on a separate bowl and run a large spoon around the bottom, pressing on the tomatoes and pushing the puree into the bowl but trapping the seeds in the strainer. Reserve.

Note: Please try not to use pre-chopped tomatoes. Why? They often are processed in tomato sauce and we want a light tomato presence here, with the focus on the meat. Whole canned tomatoes are in a natural tomato jus, which is exactly the consistency we want here.

In a heavy saucepan, heat a good amount of olive oil (yes, basic olive oil is OK here) and cook the meat, breaking it into small chunks. Add the veggie mince and sauté on low heat for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the bottom of the pot forms a layer of dark brown flavor called a fond.

Pour in a small glass of white wine (yes, white with tomatoes), and stir until the bottom of the pot goes from brown to clean. Add the tomatoes, two bay leaves, a handful of dried oregano or marjoram and stir.
Simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes or until it is as thick as applesauce.

This whole recipe made enough for 4 cups of pasta. I have to say that I rarely see The Nudge dig in for seconds but he put a substantial dent in this bowl.
It was exactly what he wanted.

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