May I just say that I absolutely love Lucinda Scala Quinn. Always have. Always will. Her cookbooks are wonderful. Easy going recipes with easy going results. Recipes made with love for those you love. Mad Hungry – the latest book – is a great book for everyone. It’s a great book to give to someone starting out on their own in the kitchen. No nonsense, straight forward and -most importantly – delicious.
The Mad Hungry series on the Hallmark Channel is so well done – and Lucinda has a spurdle. A little, simple wooden utensil that has the entire country running around screaming SPURDLE or Spurtle depending on who is typing!
As I was reading through a recipe for Stuffed Shells Bolognese I was about to make, I happened to be watching Mad Hungry. What was Lucinda making? Bolognese Sauce. What a wonderful recipe and the Bolognese Sauce recipe that went with the stuffed shells was WAY too fussy for me! I love the addition of cream. And, truthfully, anything with pancetta is a recipe for me!
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 onion, finely diced (1/2 cup)
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 2 celery stalks, finely diced
- 4 ounces pancetta, finely diced (optional)
- 1 pound ground beef, or a combination of beef and pork
- Coarse salt
- 1/2 C red or white wine
- 1 28-ounce can best-quality tomatoes, pulsed in a blender
- 1/2 C cream or milk
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 T butter
NOTE: The trifecta of Italian cooking – battuto – onions carrots and celery (also usually garlic and parsley). Personally, I HATE cutting carrots and celery. When I do it, I cut all the carrots and all the celery and put what I am not using into a freezer bag for the next recipe. Onions I don’t mind chopping as much, but if I have left over from an onion I throw the rest into a freezer bag in the freezer that grows and shrinks with the amount I cook in any given week!
NOTE: LOOK AT MY BEAUTIFUL SPURTLE!
Heat a saucepan over low heat. Add the olive oil, onion, carrot, and celery and saute over low heat until lightly caramelized, about 12 minutes.
Add the pancetta and beef and cook, separating the meat into small pieces, until browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain off most of the fat. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt.
Pour the wine into the beef mixture to deglaze the pan; stir to loosen the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the wine is almost evaporated. Add the tomatoes and stir in the cream, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Gently simmer for about 40 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and thickened. Stir in butter and adjust seasoning.
NOTES: I thought the addition of cream to the sauce was interesting, but I drew the line at butter. I didn’t think it really would lend anything to the sauce.
I used white wine because that’s what I had open on the counter. The red wine just adds a deeper flavor.
Just so you know, I was contacted by Harry at Kitchen Carvers. He makes Spurtles. They’re beautiful. He hand makes each one. They’re beautiful. Everything on his site is lovely. Go buy a spurtle. Tell Harry the folks at From the Bookshelf sent you!