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Ragù alla Bolognese

Put this on pasta or rub it on your assy-nipples for all I care.

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 med onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup carrot, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 oz diced pancetta
  • 24 oz can Italian plum tomatoes or
  • A 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (like Pinot Grigio)
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (like chianti)
  • 3-4 dried bay leaves
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 pound tagliatelle or pappardelle, cooked and drained
  • Fresh grated Parmigianno regianno

Un Soupçon De Je Ne Sais Quoi – (A little bit of I Don’t Know What)

  • 1/2 tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground fennel seed
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (Adds umami flavor)

This is a hybrid recipe influenced by Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich, and Scott Conant.

First you need a big pot. That can be a 6-8 quart sauté pan, a stock pot, or a dutch oven. Heat that sumbitch up and start by browning your ground beef only, before anything else to render out the fat.

Lidia’s recipe calls for removing the excess fat that floats to the top of the bolognese as it cooks. Well, why add butter and oil then? You are just wasting fat. Rendered beef fat tastes like rancid cilantro and cow taint. Pork, chicken, and dairy fat – on the other hand – is heavenly. The pork, pancetta, butter, and olive oil make a great fat flavor profile. Removing the beef fat first gets rid of the least desirable flavored fat right away.

Dump the ground beef into a strainer over the sink and let all that beef fat drip out. Place the strained ground beef in a bowl and set aside. Next brown the ground pork. Don’t dump out that pork fat, it’s delish. When it is done, transfer the cooked pork to the bowl with the cooked beef and set aside. If the bottom of the pot is brown with fond… GOOD! That’s more flavor.

Heat the oil and butter in that same pot over medium until hot. Add the pancetta and let it brown like bacon. Add the onions, celery, carrots, garlic and cook ten mintues until the vegetables are soft. Pour in the wine and stir, scraping any fond off the bottom of the pan. Cook out until the wine is evaporated some, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the cooked ground meats back into the pot. Crush the tomatoes up and add along with the tomato paste, bay leaves, thyme, fennel, nutmeg, and Worcestershire. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the sauce simmers lightly. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours or longer until it is very thick. The longer you cook it, the better it will taste. You want it to be thick and chunky but still loose enough to coat pasta.

Salt to taste:

Add 1/4 tsp of salt, stir and taste. You want it to brighten and be more flavorful without being too salty. You can also add a tiny pinch of sugar at the end to round it out.

Remove it from the heat and let it cool. Pick out the bay leaves. Serve over wide noodles.

Beef Bourguignon

  • 2 lb. beef chuck, cut into 1” cubes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 4oz pancetta, minced
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled, sliced into large chunks
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 1 med onion, diced
  • 1 cup pearl onions (or another regular onion, large chunks)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. dry red wine (Traditionally it would be a Burgundy/Pinot, but whatevz)
  • 12oz beef stock (chicken or pork stock will work too)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp thyme, fresh and minced
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup mushrooms, halved
  • 3oz cognac or brandy
  • Freshly minced parsley, for garnish

Combine the beef, celery, carrots, chopped onion, garlic, mushrooms and red wine in a large ziplock bag. Pour in two cups of red wine. Let this soak overnight. If you skip this step if you are a lazy shvantz.

When you are ready to cook, strain out the solids and set aside the wine marinade liquid. Pick out the the meat, pat dry, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Keep the strained veggies aside but put pick out the mushrooms and put them in a separate container. Pick out the bay leaf and put it in the container with the reserved wine marinade.

Heat a dutch oven or a very large sauté pan (5 qt or so) on the stove top. Add the oil and cook the pancetta until crispy. Remove with slotted spoon and place in large bowl. Next, brown the beef in batches. If you cook all the beef at once the surface temperature will drop and it will not brown as well. Sear until all side have a good color. Remove and place in the bowl with the pancetta.

Preheat oven to 350°F

Add the wine marinated veggies, except the mushroom, to the dutch oven and sauté for 10-15 minute or until soft. Stir in the flour until mixed well with the veggies and fat. Pour in a little of your reserved red wine or stock and scrape the bottom to get the brown fond off the pan. Add the tomato paste and stir. I had extra yellow grape tomatoes (shown in these photos), so I used them instead of tomato paste. Pour in all your remaining stock and wine, plus the browned beef and pancetta.

Cover dutch oven/sauté pan with tight lid and put in the oven. This will all be done in two hours.

After 30 minutes: Take the lid off to evaporate water so the sauce will thicken in the oven.

After an hour: Check the beef in the oven, stir a bit, and return to oven for the final hour. Stirring gives the all the beef a chance to braise and roast.

After 90 minutes: Using another skillet, cook pearl onions (or large onion hunks) and mushrooms over medium heat with butter until mushrooms are golden and onions caramelize. This is why we cook them separately from the other batch of veggies. You want the pan to develop the burnt fond that sticks to the bottom. Deglaze this pan with cognac or brandy and scrape up the fond. Simmer until the brandy boils off but the pan is no longer covered in fond. Remove from heat.

After the full two hours: Take it out of the oven, add the mushrooms and onions, and stir. Taste the sauce and add salt and pepper to your liking.

Serve with potatoes, mashed or roasted, or thick egg noodles and garnish with minced italian parsely.

Bone. Ape tit.

La Saña – An Enchilada-Inspired Casserole

This is one of our regular healthy meals. It is flavorful, relativly low carb, high in protein, and we make it without meat. You can make more decadent with a few changes (noted in parentheses).

  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 can black beans or kidney beans (or cooked ground beef)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil (or butter)
  • 1 pint of enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa (or rice)
  • 1 package of Mission Carb Balance “soft taco” tortillas (or standard tortillas, flour or corn)
  • OPTIONAL – 16 oz of shredded hard cheese. We use a supermarket “Fiesta blend” or a pepperjack. Skip the cheese if you are counting calories

In a big pot, sauté the onions and bell pepper until tender. I let it sauté 5-10 min and brown a bit. Mix in everything except the refried beans, tortillas, and cheese. Simmer the MIX until it is no longer soupy. Pre-heat the oven to 350°. Heat the refried beans on the stove or microwave and blend in half cup of water to make the beans easier to spread. Make a single layer of tortillas on the bottom of a large casserole dish. I cut them in half or qurters to fill the space more efficiently. Spread all the refried beans on top of the tortilla layer. Spread half the MIX on top of the refried bean later. Sprinkle half of the cheese on top of the first MIX layer. Add a second layer of tortillas. Spread the rest of the MIX on top of the last tortilla layer. Top the entire casserole with the rest of the shredded cheese.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the inside is hot. All the ingredients should have been pre-cooked there is no required temperature to hit.

It’s layered kinda like a lasagne but with the flavors of an enchilada. The name is something I made up. It is pronounced “lasagne” but I spelled it in Spanish syntax since it’s Mexican food-inspired.

¡La Saña!

Caesar Christopherus

This is my recipe for caesar salad.

Hail Caesar!

3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons anchovy paste (sold in tubes at the store)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Juice from one lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard. Real dijon, not that Grey Poop-On junk.
2 egg yolks (pasteurized egg recommended) OR 1 tablespoon premium mayonnaise if you must.
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil.
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese or Romano cheese. Buy a real block of cheese. Not that canned shit.

Chopped romaine lettuce. (This recipe should cover two heads or 40oz of chopped romain. Spinach and kale are great too. Go crazy! My favorite is Arugula! )

OPTIONAL – Pinch of hot red pepper flakes. Caesar salad with a a kick chili heat is amazing, but it’s not for everyone.

Mash garlic, anchovy paste, salt, and pepper into a fine goop. I use a mortar and pestle. In a mixing bowl, food processor, or cup, add the lemon juice, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, mayo, parmesean, and mix into the fine goop you just mashed. If using a bowl, slowly drizzle in the olive oil last while whisking the mixture vigouously.

Authentic caesar needs egg. You can punch up dressing by using one egg plus one egg yolk for a bigger flavor. I pasteurize my own eggs at home, but you can buy them pasteurized from many stores. Use raw eggs at your own risk. Otherwise, mayo is an OK substitute for egg, since mayo is eggs and oil. It works well, it’s more convienent, and has less salmonella. I find that one tablespoon of mayo is about right for me. Any more than that and the mayo flavor will take over. Use Hellmen’s/Best Foods ore better. If you use cheap mayo you will destroy the dressing, in my opinion. If you use Miracle Whip… Kill yourself.