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Chef’s table: Bolognese sauce

July 29, 2009

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Serves 8

Bolognese on Sasso’s menu is made with lamb. For a staff meal, chef Anthony Mazzotta uses scraps of meat, such as sirloin, short ribs, pork tenderloin, and prosciutto. If there isn’t enough meat around, he might add grilled eggplant or sauteed portobello stems. The Bolognese is often ladled over orecchiette, ear-shaped pasta, because it’s easy to serve.

1 large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, quartered
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground pork
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups red wine
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, or to taste
2 cans (28 ounces each) whole peeled tomatoes, crushed in a bowl
2 empty tomato cans filled with water
1 1/2 cups Parmesan (for serving)
1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves (for serving)
1. Work the onion, carrots, and garlic through a meat grinder or chop them finely in a food processor.

2. In a large flameproof casserole, heat the olive oil. When it is hot, add the onion mixture, salt, and black pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet. When it is hot, add the beef and pork. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until the meat renders its fat and water. Set a colander over a bowl and tip the meat into it; set aside.

4. Stir the vinegar and wine into the meat skillet. Cook, stirring often, to release the sediment in the pan; set aside.

5. Stir the meat into the onion mixture with crushed red pepper. Tip the wine mixture into the pan. Cook, stirring often, until the liquids reduce by half.

6. Add the tomatoes and the cans of water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer the mixture uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 1 hour. If it seems too thick, add more water and let the sauce bubble down again.

7. Serve over pasta with Parmesan and basil. Adapted from Anthony Mazzotta, chef of Sasso