Il Talismano della Felicita, Italy

Il Talismano della Felicita: Recipe #2 The Real Pasta Bolognese



When I lived in Spain, I didn’t do much traveling. I knew that it would not be my last time in Europe and it was very important for me to get to know one culture very well. During the 12 months that I spent in Spain, I picked up a Spanish accent, learned how to “darle la vuelta a la tortilla” and got to know every nook and cranny of Madrid. I did not, however, get to see much of Europe. I did however get to see Bologna. A very good friend of mine spent a year in Bologna finding his own nooks and crannies of this very “dotta” (learned) and “rossa” (red) città. To get a better understanding of Bologna’s last nickname “la grassa” (the fat one) we went to L’Osteria dell’Orsa where he had found il ragù bolognese or as it is now called Bolognese Sauce. The first thing that I thought when they served the pasta was “Where´s the sauce?” unlike our American Bolognese sauce this is a VERY meaty dish. This recipe involved pancetta, prosciutto, veal liver, chicken liver, ground beef (if you want you can also combined ground beef and pork meat in a grinder), milk and cream. I’ve adjusted the recipe a little for those who feel this is too much meat, but the original recipe will come tomorrow! Still the result was delicious and I would definitely recommend it for anyone who wants to discover rustic Italian cuisine. Here is the recipe:

Serves 6

300 grams minced meat (1/2 lb meat)

50 grams butter

100 grams pancetta

one medium onion

one carrot

one celery stalk

one cup of milk

one teaspoon tomato paste

salt and pepper to taste

1. Add carrots, celery, and onion to food processor. Pulse until finely chopped (1 or 2 seconds).

2. Add 50 grams of butter to a hot pan and then add 100g of small cuts of pancetta. (if pancetta cannot be found, add bacon instead.) Saute the pancetta until beginning to crisp.

3. Add the carrots, celery and onion to the pan, stir until softened. Add the minced meat. Stir until the minced meat has browned.

4. Add a cup of milk

5. Add one teaspoon of tomato paste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add water. Cover and let simmer.

6. Let simmer for 30 minutes, occasionally stirring.

7. After 20 minutes, boil the water and start cooking the pasta. That way, the pasta and bolognese should finish at the same time.

8. Combine and ENJOY!

Wondering more about milk in Bolognese sauce? Read here, here and here.

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