Well, well, well… Long time no see guys! Sorry that I’ve been away from blogging for so long (5 months, eesh!), but between work, regular family craziness and coaching two sports, well, needless to say time to cook, let alone blog, is a luxury I really haven’t had in a while. But winter is descending upon us and some time is actually starting to free up. I’m not saying that you’ll be seeing daily or weekly posts from me, but I hope at least it won’t be 5 more months until my next recipe or wine write up!
So yesterday was the first day in what seems like forever where we were home in the afternoon and evening with absolutely nothing to do, so I took advantage of the quiet time to cook a nice, yet simple, dinner. Homemade hand cut Tagliatelle tossed in a traditional Bolognese sauce.
4c Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
4 Large Eggs
2tbsp Olive Oil
1tsp Salt (plus salt for pasta water)
1/2c Semolina Flour or Corn Meal to dust the pasta once cut
1lb Ground Beef
6 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
1 Large Carrot, chopped
1 Celery Stalk, chopped
28oz Canned Tomato Puree
2c Dry Red Wine
2c Beef Stock
4tsp Ground Black Pepper
2tsp Dried Basil
2tsp Dried Parsley
Ok, so the hardest part about this dish is making the pasta dough. I’m not going to lie, you’re going to sweat a little and your hands and shoulders are going to hurt, but my oh my it’s worth it!
Mound the flour on your kneading surface and make a large well in the center. Crack the eggs into the well and add the olive oil and salt. Use a fork to gently beat the eggs, then carefully start stirring the beaten egg mixture in the well, gradually incorporating more flour from the edges. Once the mixture thickens to the point that it’s sticking to the fork start using your hands to incorporate the remaining flour. Knead the pasta dough until it is silky and slightly elastic. This will take 15-20 minutes. You will know that you’re done when you poke your finger into the dough and the depression springs back up. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap in place in the refrigerator. You can make the pasta as far out as the day prior if you prefer, but at a minimum it will need at least 30 minutes to rest in the fridge.
Heat a large sauce pot on high and add the ground beef, along with 2tsp each of Salt and Ground Black Pepper. Cook until lightly browned. Reduce the heat to medium and add the chopped Garlic, Carrot and Celery, along with 1tsp each of Salt and Ground Black Pepper. Cook, stirring periodically, until the vegetables start to sweat, about 3-5 minutes. Increase the heat back to high and add the Dry Red Wine, simmer until reduced by half. Add the Beef Stock and Canned Tomato Puree, bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring periodically.
While the sauce is simmering it’s time to roll out and cut the pasta. Next to your work station put a section of wax paper, a large plate, or a baking sheet (anything to put the pasta on once cut) and have your Semolina Flour or Corn Meal ready. Remove the pasta dough from the plastic wrap and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices. One at a time, use a rolling pin to evenly roll out the sections of dough as thin as you can and then cut the rolled dough into long ribbons about 1/3-1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle the tagliatelle with your Semolina or Cornmeal and gently toss it around to make sure that all of the ribbons are lightly coated. Repeat this process for each slice until all of your pasta is made.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
Once the sauce has simmered for 45 minutes add the 2tsp each of Dried Basil and Dried Parsley, and the remaining 1tsp each of Salt and Ground Black Pepper, and stir.
Drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Then strain the pasta and add it to the sauce. Cook on medium-low for an additional 10 minutes, stirring periodically.
That’s it, you’re done! Plate it up, sprinkle with some grated Parmigiano or Pecorino Romano if you want, and make sure you have some crusty bread on the side to sop up the rest of the sauce from your plate when you’ve finished the pasta.
Now let’s talk wine pairings. Obviously we’re going with a red here, something medium to full bodied, and since we’re having about as traditional an Italian dish as has ever been made, we’re going to want to go with an Italian wine. Here are a few recommendations…
Musto Carmelitano Maschitano Rosso 2013, Basilicata, IT – The Carmelitano family have been making wine (and olive oil) from their estate in the del Vulture region of Basilicata for four generations, but didn’t start bottling under their own name until 2007. The Maschitano Rosso is their entry level offering, made from their younger Aglianico vines, and aged entirely in concrete. The wine is surprisingly approachable for Aglianico, which is naturally a full bodied and tannic varietal that typically needs time in bottle to evolve and gain balance. In the glass is a medium to full bodied wine of dark garnet hue with hints of rust along the edges. The nose has aromas of cherry, plum, dried herbs, pipe tobacco and leather. The palate is quite lively with notes of black cherry, balsamic, and herbs, along with subtle nuances of lardon and smoke, all framed by moderate tannins and surprisingly bright acidity. This is a wonderful introduction to the varietal, and an unbelievable wine for the price. Only 1,000 cases were produced, so you may have to have your fingers do the walking on the internet to find this one… PP Score: 89 (Retail $13-16) *Certified Organic
Cascina delle Rose Dolcetto d’Alba A Elizabeth 2014, Piemonte, Italy – Cascina delle Rose have a meager three hectares of vineyard in the Rio Sordo Valley in Barbaresco. They have been producing wines since 1948, however, they’ve only been bottling wines under their own label since 1992. They are very highly regarded for their Barbarescos, but what most people don’t realize is that they also make very small quantities of Barbera and Dolcetto as well. Their Dolcetto is beautifully fresh and vibrant, with bright cherry notes, dried herbs, churned loam and subtle leather. The wine is stainless aged, allowing the fruit to shine and giving it great lift. The only problem is availability. With only 330 cases made per vintage there isn’t much to go around, but if you can find it the price is reasonable enough that you can stock up. PP Score: 90 (Retail $15-18) *Practicing Organic
Socre Barbaresco 2011, Piemonte, Italy – Not only is Socre one of my favorite producers from the village of Barbaresco, they are also one of the region’s greatest values. Their 2011 normale is bright and approachable, even at this young age. Nuances of tart cherry, overripe raspberry, leather, anise, mint and dried rose petal permeate both the bouquet and palate, with subtle acidity bringing balance in the opening, and soft, fine-grained tannins giving backbone and depth in the mid-palate and finish. Surprisingly soft and elegant for a young Nebbiolo. PP Score: 93 (Retail $34-40)
So there you have it. My homemade Tagliatelle and Bolognese sauce recipe, and three wonderful (and wallet friendly) wines to pair with the dish. I hope you’ve enjoyed the read, and I certainly hope you’ll try the recipe and wines. Fingers crossed that we’ll have some new content coming soon… In the meantime crack open a bright Italian red, sit back, and relax. Life is short, enjoy it!!