It’s cold in New York City. I mean the kind of cold when you just want to lounge around all day in your warmest flannel onesie, drinking unlimited amounts of hot tea and eating rich hearty pastas. This is also the best time to snuggle up and pull out some favorite books. Unfortunately, I choose the wrong time to re-read A Year in Provence. If you haven’t read Peter Mayles’ gastronomic adventures in the South of France, stop reading this blog immediately. I’m serious. It’s filled with stories of a British couple retiring to the quaint albeit quirky Luberon Valley. There are fantastic descriptions about going to five or six shops to get different ingredients for a single meal. With each shopkeeper more quirky than the next.
Seeing as how I also live in a “village” within New York. I thought about all the small shops in my own neighborhood and decided, in honor of a friend’s move to San Francisco, to cook an entire meal from local ingredients. Now I’m not a cook. But I love to eat, and my Bolognese dinner was amazing. Now it wasn’t because I have somehow mastered the art of cooking – I wish—but because I bought all my ingredients fresh.
The vegetables form an organic grocery, wine for a local connoisseur, and the meat came from an amazing four-generation Italian butcher. If you have the opportunity. BUY LOCAL. It will make you seem like you’re actually a chef. I hope you enjoy the recipe.
Serves 4 people (or 3 leftover meals)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 celery stick, finely chopped
* 1 carrot stick, finely chopped
1 can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes (14.5 oz), blended.
1 organic tomato, diced
3 oz. thinly sliced pancetta prosciutto
6 cloves of garlic
½ bottle of red wine (Rioja,
1 lb. of lean beef or turkey
pinches of salt, basil, oregano
1 package of Umbrian Stangozzi
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and celery. Sauté until soft. Add beef pancetta. Break up with the back of spatula, until browned, for about 7-10 minutes. Add wine; boil 1 minute, stir often. Remove any brown bits. Add pancetta Add blended peeled tomatoes and diced tomatoes, stir for 5 minutes. Add dashes of salt, basil, and oregano. Reduce heat to very low, stirring occasionally while flavors blend, for about 1 hr to 1.4 hrs. Cook pasta in lightly salted water for about 10-14 minutes.
Serve with cheese. And wine.
Step by Step:
- Chop up Onion, Garlic, Pancetta Celery and Tomato.
- Blend the whole peeled tomato. Use the extra juice in the can as the liquid base.
- Heat oil in large heavy pot. Oil should cover the bottom of the pan.
- Add diced onions and celery. Sauté until soft. Onions will be slightly yellow. About 3 minutes.
- Add beef. Break up with the back of spatula until browned. Between 7-10 minutes.
- Add wine. Boil for 1 minute
- Add Pancetta.
- Add the tomatoes and diced tomatoes. (If you don’t like chopped tomato, blend with the whole peeled tomato: Step 2). About 5 minutes.
- Add pinches of salt, oregano, basil to taste. I don’t love salt so I usually add a sprinkle, enough to cover ¼ of the mixture.
- Reduce heat to low and cook for 1 hr or 1.5hrs.
- You’ll know when it is done because your kitchen will smell like a nice roasting wine/meat smell.
Dinner Party Menu
Kale Chips with Moldon Sea Salt and Red Chilli Flakes
Tossed Salad with Romaine, Cherry Tomatoes, Walnuts
Stangozzi and Bolognese
Caramel Pecan Cheesecake
Wyatt Cabernet Sauvignon California, 2012 $14.00