Monday, January 18, 2010

Law School Hunger

I started this semester of school on Monday.  I was sitting, semi-attentively, in Marital Dissolution when I got really hungry thinking about pasta bolognese.  I saw a recipe a long time ago on one of Heston Blumenthal's shows.  I hunted around the internet for the recipe, and, oddly enough, I found two different versions of the same recipe.  I browsed through them and found the one that I liked better.

This recipe takes a really long time, but virtually all of it is just waiting for it to be done.  If you start it in the morning, you will be ready to go for dinner (it takes about nine hours).  It also is extremely hearty, so you won't eat too much of it.  It really is quite a great dish, and some of the elements in it you would never imagine would go in a savory pasta sauce. 

This is a multi-staged sauce.  You  make a meat sauce and a tomato sauce separately, then you blend the two and continue cooking them together in the same pot at the last step of the cooking period.  I may cut down on the oil and butter a little since I thought it was a little greasy.  Two other people ate it and said the grease wasn't too heavy, so I guess it's all personal preferance.  You will also need a fair amount of cheesecloth

Here is the recipe:

Pasta Bolognese
Meat Part
8.5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
0.5 lbs oxtail, boned and minced
0.5 lbs pork shoulder, cubed
1/2 bottle of oaked chardonnay
1 star anise, crushed
2 large white onions, sliced
2 large white onions, diced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
3 large carrots, finely diced
1 cup milk

1.  Put 1.5 tbsp of oil in the pan and heat it over medium heat.  Put the star anise in a small cheesecloth bag.  When the oil is hot add the sliced onions and the star anise.  Cook for 20 minutes, stirring frequently until its carmelized.
2.  In another pan, heat 3 tbsp of oil over low heat for 3-4 minutes.  Put garlic, diced onions, and carrots in the pan and cook for 20 minutes.
3.  In yet another pan, heat 3 tbsp of oil over high heat until it starts smoking.  Add the meat and stir constantly to brown all over (about 4 minutes).  Drain the fat off of the meat and put the meat into a large pot.  Do not wash the pan the meat was cooked in yet.
4.  Return the pan the meat was in to the stove and heat for a few seconds over high heat.  Deglaze the pan with a splash of wine.  Scrape the bottom and pour the wine into the pot with the meat in it.
5.  Remove the bag of star anise from the sliced onions and put the onions in the pot with the meat.  Do not wash onion pan yet.
6.  Return onion pan to the medium heat for a few seconds to reheat.  Deglaze with the rest of the wine and scrape the bottom.  When wine has reduced by half, pour it into the pot with the meat and onions.
7.  Add the garlic mixture to the pot with the meat.
8.  Pour the milk into the meat pot and then add enough water to the pot to just barely cover the contents of the pot.
9.  Simmer uncovered over very low heat for 6 hours.  The meat should always be covered with liquid, so you may need to add some water later on (but probably not).

Tomato Compote
2.25 lbs beefsteak tomatoes
1 tspn kosher salt
10 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 large white onion, diced
1 heaping tspn coriander
1 star anise, crushed
3 cloves
4-5 drops of Tobasco
4-5 drops of Thai fish sauce
2 tspn Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
7 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf

1.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cut a large "X" into the bottom of each tomato.  Drop each tomato, one at a time, in the boiling water for 15-20 seconds.  Remove from the water and immediately shock in an ice water bath.  Reserve tomato in a large pan.
2.  When you have finished with the tomatoes, peel each tomato (the boiling makes the skin come off really easily).
3.  Cut each tomato in half vertically into 1/3 inch slices.  Push out all the seeds and membranes and reserve separately from the tomato flesh.
4.  Sprinkle the seeds and membranes with the salt and let it sit for 20 minutes to draw out the juice.  Strain and reserve the juice.
5.   Chop the tomato flesh roughly.
6.  While the juice is coming out of the seeds and membrane, heat the olive oil over low heat for 5 minutes until hot.  Put in the garlic and onion and cook for 10-15 minutes.
7.  Add the reserved tomato juice and the tomato flesh to the pan.
8.  Add the tobasco, fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and sherry vinegar to the pan.
9.  Wrap the star anise, cloves, and coriander in cheesecloth and tie into a bag.  Put it in the pan.
10.  Wrap the tyme springs and bay leaf in cheesecloth and tie it into a bag.  Put the bag of thyme into the pan and cook for 2 hours until the liquid in the pan has rendered and evaporated, stirring occasionally (more often toward the end).

Finishing the Sauce
kosher salt
sherry vinegar
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
6 tarragon leaves
4 sprigs parsley
3.5 tbsp butter

1.  Put tomato compote into the meat pot which should have been simmering for the last 6 hours.
2.  Cook on very low heat for 2 more hours (no need to add any more liquid).
3.  After 2 hours, stir in the parmesan cheese.
3.  Sift through the sauce and look for the 2 cheesecloth bags.  Take them out and discard.
4.  Put the tarragon and parsley in some cheesecloth and tie into a bag.  Put in the pot and continue cooking for 5-10 more minutes.
5.   Remove from heat and stir the butter into the sauce.
6.  Adjust to taste with salt, pepper, and sherry vinegar.
7.  Remove the cheesecloth bag and serve.

Lastly, be sure to boil some pasta (preferably tagliatelle) and serve with the sauce and some freshly grated parmesan cheese.

After all that hard work, here is a picture of my efforts.  It was amazing.

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