ache for autumn: pasta bolognese

Can you believe that it’s already September and I’ve been loading up on root vegetables and firing up the dutch oven? I adore autumn. Nubby sweaters, pale skin, terracotta leaves, crisp mornings and pumpkin pies — I couldn’t imagine anything finer. You can have your scorching temperatures and handbag sets for skin, I’ll take alabaster and scarves any day of the week. And even though it’s warm outside, inside I’m determined to bring a little autumn into my space.

Today I woke and ached for PASTA BOLOGNESE. I blame Pinterest, naturally, for showing me a ticker tape of beautifully-dressed pasta dishes. After a trip to the market I came home, chopped, minced, stirred and tasted, tasted, tasted, until I spent a quiet day reading and watching movies while my home became fragrant with oregano and bay leaves. While you’ll be tempted to sneak into the kitchen, DON’T. Allow for the flavors to meld and come together, like symphony. Like all great triumphs, patience and timing are everything.

INGREDIENTS: Recipe inspired by Cookie Talk, with alterations
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 lb ground sirloin
1/2 lb ground pork
1 Spanish onion, rough chop
4 cloves garlic, rough chop
2 carrots, rough chop
2 ribs of celery heats, rough chop
1 28-ounce can San Marzano crushed tomatoes
1 15-ounce can organic tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup red wine (I opted for a Chilean Cabernet)
1 bay leaf
6 sprigs fresh oregano, chopped
3-4 tbsp of sugar, to taste (depends on the acidity of the tomatoes)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup flat leaf parsley, torn
1 tablespoon unsalted butter (you can opt to use vegan butter)
1 pound whole wheat fettucini

In a large pot (I used my Le Creuset dutch oven), heat olive oil. Make sure you have enough to thinly coat the pan, and that your pan is searing hot. There’s nothing more criminal than boiling beef, so use a large pot and ensure that it’s scorching hot. Once you have the heat of Hades, toss in your meats, flavor with salt and pepper and stir gently with a wooden spoon to break apart the met.

While your meat is browning (5-7 minutes), blitz your mirepoix — onion, carrots, celery — and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped. It’s important that all of your veggies are roughly the same size because no one wants a huge hunk of carrot or onion in their pasta bowl. NO ONE.

After your meat has browned on all sides, deglaze the pan with the wine and add your veggie mix. Cook for 5-6 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaf, sugar, water and oregano. Bring all the ingredients to a simmer and taste. Add salt and pepper as needed.

Simmer covered for about 2-4 hours. When the sauce is done, bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a hefty pinch of salt to the water then add your pasta. Stir and cook until al dente. Add the pasta to the sauce; be sure to save some pasta water in case you need some. If the sauce is too thick, add the water until the desired consistency.

Remove from heat. Add the butter and parsley. Drizzle each serving with some extra olive oil. DIG IN.


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