Spaghetti Bolognese

I love this recipe for a few reasons. It is extremely simple; it is seasonal; and who doesn’t love making fresh pasta and serving it to friends?

The flavors of this recipe are very reminiscent of the pappa pomodoro dish we experienced just a few week’s ago in Tuscany with Gourmet Destinations.  Hey, culinary travel is what this trip was all about, so there was a clear focus on the fresh ingredients and harmonious flavors. The quality of this dish is heavily dependent upon the quality, freshness and seasonality of the ingredients used, which encompass the philosophy of Tuscan cooking.

Pasta Dough

  • 8 fluid ounces of egg yolks
  • 17 ounces 00 flour (extra fine, Caputo brand is easy to find)

Sauce

  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes, peeled, seeded, roughly chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons spring garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces any dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup ricotta, crumbled, or shaved Parmesan
  • pasta water

Pasta

1. Using a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, mix egg yolks, then slowly add the flour until it has all been incorporated. Remove the dough from the mixer, cover with plastic or a moist cloth and allow to rest on your counter for one hour.

2. Using good old-fashioned elbow grease, knead the dough into a flattened ball and roll through a pasta machine until it easily glides through the smallest setting. Using a little extra flour to keep the dough from sticking to itself, fold the pasta sheet creating 5 or 6 layers of dough.  Using an ordinary chef’s knife, hand cut the pasta dough to the desired thickness (about 16th of an inch for tajarin, ¼ inch for fettucini).

Sauce

1. Bring a large stockpot of water to a rolling boil. Prepare a bowl with ice water, and set aside.

2. With a paring knife, cut a shallow X on the bottom of the tomatoes.
Blanch the tomatoes in the boiling water for 10 seconds. Lift them out of the water with a slotted spoon, and immediately shock them in ice water. Keep the water boiling for the pasta. Once cooled, peel the tomatoes.  Remove the seeds and roughly chop them.

3. Place garlic in large sauté pan with olive oil and lightly sweat the garlic. When the garlic becomes aromatic, add all of the chopped tomato as well as white wine. Only allow the tomatoes to cook in the pan for 1-2 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, salt the boiling water and drop in the fresh pasta and allow to cook for 3 minutes. Once the sauce is ready, remove the pasta from the pot, reserving some of the pasta water for the sauce. Add the pasta to the sauce and gently toss the pan. If the sauce is too lumpy, use the pasta water the loosen it.

5. When the sauce is just thick enough to adhere to the pasta, tear the basil leaves and add to the pan. Toss lightly again. Garnish with shaved Parmesan or ricotta and serve immediately. Enjoy!!!

Tip: Adding water that has been used to cook pasta is a great tool for making pasta sauces, because the water contains starch from the pasta and will assist in creating the desired texture.

 

 


Tuscany 20120529-3322Chef Chris Marchino is the executive sous chef at Spiaggia in Chicago. He blogged about his recent trip to Italy at: spiaggiarestaurant.com/blog and has a video about the trip on YouTube.

Wine Recommendation: A soft red works very well with the light summer flavors of this dish,” according to Jens Bauerle, founder, Gourmet Destinations.  Chianti, Campo Ceni from Ricasoli, or if you like whites/roses,Torricella (CH/SB) from Ricasoli, Bianco di Volpaia and Rosato di Toscana from Salchetto are all good pairings. These wines are savored as part of  the Tuscany tour, and are also available locally at Schaefer’s in Skokie.

Photo credit: Photo by Jill Buckner/Richard Mack