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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pasta alla Bolognese

The CSA box this week was huuuuuuge! Squash, zucchini, corn, tomato, baby lettuce, romaine, carrots, parsley, onions, cippolini onions, cabbage, beet, green beans, eggplant, celery, spinach. I don’t know where to start!
Today is really cold so some comfort food will be nice… Tradition says to use up the tomatoes first, so let’s make some pasta Bolognese… Uma-mi’s style… hummmm…

Pasta alla Bolognese
4 servings
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb ground beef
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon fines herbes
2 small bay leaves or 1 large
8 medium tomatoes or 2 cans diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt and coarsely ground fresh black pepper
1/4 cup basil torn
8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti or linguini, cooked al dente
Parmesan cheese to taste

If using canned tomatoes, skip this step. Place a saucepan 3/4 full of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Dip tomatoes that need to be peeled in the boiling water for 1 minute. Remove tomatoes and set aside to cool enough so that you can handle them. Gently pierce, just barely, the skin of the tomatoes with the tip of a sharp knife. Loosen the skin with the knife and peel away. Repeat with all the tomatoes. Cut peeled tomatoes in half lengthwise. Hold tomato half in your hand over a small bowl. Gently squeeze tomato half so that seeds drip into the bowl. Put the seeds and their juice through a strainer. Discard seeds, add the strained juice to the bowl of tomatoes. Crush the tomatoes with your hands leaving big pieces. Add the balsamic vinegar. Stir and set aside.

Place the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, cook until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic, cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the meat, Worcestershire sauce, fines herbes, bay leaves. Cook stirring often until there is no more pink. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Add the tomato balsamic mix to the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add the basil and cook 1 minute more. Serve over pasta, sprinkled with parmesan and more basil if desired.

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