Main Dish · Pasta · Recipes

A quick bolognese

Finally!!  We haven’t seen Stephanie and Peter in such a long time!  They were off to Italy, and  then we were off to Cabo..and now we’re home.  They came to dinner last night, bearing gifts from their travels.  They brought us an amazing bottle of wine from Sienna, chosen especially to celebrate our anniversary… and some beautiful pasta from Harry’s Bar in Venice.

We enjoyed a little tomato bruschetta while preparing our quick bolognese.  I used the last of our San Marzano tomatoes off the vine in our garden.  I will so miss our summer tomato bounty.  It’s time to rework the vegetable garden.  Maybe I’ll grow carrots for the winter, and maybe some romanesco broccoli, fennel and lettuce.  Yeah, that sounds good.

I’ve been using this recipe from Food & Wine for years.  The original recipe calls for sweet Italian sausage, but Sunshine likes it spicy.  The bolognese is great with polenta too.  Here’s my version with a few adjustments.

Quick Bolognese

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds spicy italian pork sausage
  • 2 carrots, small dice
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 bunch italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk or cream
  • freshly grated parmegiano-reggiano

In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over moderately high heat.  Remove sausage from casing, and add to the pan, cooking until no longer pink.  Spoon off most of the fat.  Add carrots, onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes.  Add wine and let simmer for 3 minutes.  Add chicken stock, tomatoes and thyme.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Uncover, add parsley and milk, and cook for an additional 5 minutes.  Serve over pasta or polenta, sprinkle with parmegiano-reggiano.

The Cipriani pappardelle is made with kamut, an ancient relative of modern durum wheat.  The pasta is very thin and delicate.  Delicious!!!!!!!

Greg Schroeder, owner of Amazing Grapes Wine Store

Greg says…

I’d go with a juicy Malbec like the 2009 Budini from Argentina.   Very perfumed with aromas of ripe black cherries and some sweet oak. Full, fleshy, and jammy in the mouth with loads of ripe and spicy red and black fruits. Great structure with loads of ripe, fleshy tannins, and a long, long finish. Wow!

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Recipes · Soup · Vegetarian

cannellini bean soup

Sometimes I like spending all day in the kitchen.  Sometimes a plan doesn’t work out the way you think it will.

I got my CSA box full of greens, and assumed most of them would work well in a cannellini bean soup.  I was wrong.  I didn’t know what most of the greens were, and as it turned out, most were too bitter and over powered the flavors in the soup.  So I just fished out most of the greens and ended up with delicious soup anyway, a little less green than originally planned.

You can make this with canned beans and chicken or vegetable broth from a box, or water.  This soup would probably take a whopping 20 minutes to cook.  But I really wanted freshly cooked beans, and happened to have bones from a roasted chicken in the freezer, so mine took a bit more time.

Cannellini bean soup

  • 1 pound dried cannellini beans
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Fresh oregano, minced
  • 2 leeks, halved, 1/2″ thick slice (use white part only)
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 28 ounce can whole san marzano tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • Rind of parmigianno-reggiano
  • Chicken stock, or vegetable stock, or water
  • Fresh greens of your choice (I’ll stick with spinach next time)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Soak beans overnight, covered.  The next day, rinse and drain beans.  Add enough water to cover beans by 1″ in a crockpot, and cook on the low setting until just tender.  This took about 4 hours for me, but it will depend on how fresh your beans are.

Heat olive oil in a deep pan.  Saute garlic, shallots and red pepper flakes until fragant.  Add leeks, oregano, celery and carrots and saute for 5 minutes longer.  Add hand crushed tomatoes, broth, beans and parmigianno-reggiano rind, and continue to cook for 15 minutes.  Add chopped spinach until wilted.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Remove rind from soup.  Serve with a snow flurry of parmesan.

I made my chicken stock by covering the chicken carcass with water.  Add a quartered onion (skin on), a couple of carrots, halved, pepper corns, bay leaf, and carrot tops or Italian parsley.  Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer.  I usually use my crock pot.

Paige is ready for Halloween, thanks to Grandma Sherry.  Are you?