Sunday, September 16, 2007
Gadempt Meat Sauce Bolognese with Fusilli
One day, the family went to the Transit Museum in Brooklyn. The kids had a great time, but what I really remember is ending up, after an endless walk, at a small Italian restaurant that clearly was not used to serving children (and we had 4 as we were with another family). The only thing that kept everyone calm was a really good meat sauce made from whole chunks of meat cooked until the meat fell apart. The kids liked, I liked the lovely wife liked it, and our friend liked it (you know who you are). So I set about to recreate it. At this point, I have a number of variations. This one is a great recipe for large numbers of people if you are going to be in and around the house all day. It generally takes more than four hours to cook, but after the initial prep, you just stir occasionally and do a lot of tasting to see if its ready. I like this sauce with fusilli, as the twisty pasta mixes well with the strings of meat.
8 pounds cubed stew meat
2 cans whole, peeled tomatoes (crush the tomatoes a bit with your hands)
1/2 bottle red wine + another cup or so (I used a Pinot Grigio that you never heard of. It worked fine)
3 chopped onions
6 sliced cloves garlic
salt: enough to cover meat and then to taste (probably 1/2 teaspoon)
1 1/2 teaspoons white or wine vinegar (because vinegar is good)
one teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon thyme
olive oil for cooking
EQUIPMENT YOU WILL NEED
Large skillet to brown onions and meat
Large pot to cook everything in
Brown the onions to a pale yellow and set aside in large cooking pot. Dry meat with paper towels and salt liberally (This is an Upper West Side Blog, after all!). Brown the meat in batches. Don't worry if its not perfect, it will all cook eventually. Using a slotted spoon, move the meat into large pot. Add the sliced garlic, wine and tomatoes. Also add one teaspoon of the vinegar. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, and then place on very low heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally and skimming off oil and foam that develop. Make sure the stuff on the bottom of the pot does not burn.
Keep feeling the meat with the spoon as you turn the sauce. At some point, it will start falling apart. Encourage it with the spoon, but don't force it or crush the meat. At this time, add the rest of the vinegar (1/2 teaspoon), pepper, thyme and up to one more cup of wine. Keep cooking. The sauce is cooked when the vast majority of the meat has fallen apart and the sauce is quite thick. Salt to taste prior to serving. The sauce tastes best if its allowed to sit for at least 20 minutes after cooking.