Last night I and seven guests enjoyed the traditional recipe for bolognese. It was pretty good, and I recommend it.
The “dinner party” itself was also a success, in that I provided pasta with sauce, but salad, wine, bread and dessert magically presented themselves by way of guests. My investment in food and time was repaid in fine company and leftover wine, which is what we all hope for in a successful dinner party.
In an effort to not sway from the intent of International Italian Cuisine Day (or whatever it’s called) I did something I normally do not, which is that I avoided altering the recipe at all.
Ultimately, shortness of time caused by my failure to read the recipe carefully in advance forced me to change the cooking times a bit. I was faithful at least with quantities. I needed 1kg of tomatoes, which come in cans of 400gm. I needed 400gm of ground pork, but was forced to buy 500gm. A misjudgement in slicing at the Italian deli meant I had 300gm of pancetta but the recipe called for 200gm. As a result, I had odd amounts of raw ingredients leftover.
So, what to do with the leftovers?
Here is what I chose to do:
- Heat 100gm diced pancetta over low heat to render some of the fat.
- Add a couple minced shallots, and cook until translucent.
- Add 100gm of ground pork. Allow to cook through, breaking up with a wooden spoon.
- Run finger under cold water because of the burn you got touching the side of the pot.
- Add a splash of the wine you’re drinking. Yeah, you’re alone, but you have three FREE bottles just sitting on the counter, staring at you. (The wine I used was red, since that was the one with the screw top.)
- Crank the heat, and reduce the wine.
- Throw in 1/2 can of tomatoes.
- Reduce heat, and wander away.
- Remember that you meant to add capers because you love capers. Add capers. Return to drinking wine.
I should have started the water when I started the pancetta, since the sauce described above has so little liquid that I had to turn it off early to prevent it from drying out. I ate it with fettuccine and freshly-grated-yesterday Parmigiano Reggiano. I always drizzle olive oil on my pasta. Start, if you don’t already. The pancetta was the star of this. Mmm.