Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Cooking Challenge!

Yesterday in the mail I got the most awesome cookbook to date. It is Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentiis. If you haven't seen her on FoodTv, she is just the cutest thing. She is so pretty, so tiny, and everything she makes looks so good. The bonus is that it's also so easy. So I am presenting myself with a cooking challenge. I have never gottne a cookbook where I actually want to make almost all of the recipes- so my challenge is that I will. There are only 125 recipes in her book, so I will make each one and post my findings here.

Tonight I started with her basic sauce: Simple Bolognese. Mmmm. It was very good. The only change I had was that I forgot to pick up some pecorino romano, so my sauce was cheeseless. I used less oil than called for, and I used Muir Glen crushed tomatoes with basil for extra flavor. It was really good. I imagine it would be phenomenal with the cheese added to it. It was extremely thick. I served it with frozen ravioli, which was okay, but the sauce is screaming for a plain pasta or even a nice slab of french bread lightly toasted as an open face sandwich. I have plenty of leftovers, so I will pick up the romano cheese to add to the remainder. I am also thinking this would be a good time to attempt Polenta, as Giada recommends the bolognese as a topping for it. So we'll see. Here's the recipe.

* Exported from MasterCook *
Simple Bolognese
Recipe By : Giada De Laurentiis
Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method-------- ------------ -------------------------------- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion -- coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves -- peeled and coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk -- coarsely chopped
1 carrot -- coarsely chopped
1 pound ground chuck beef
1 can crushed tomatoes -- (28-ounce)
1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley -- chiffonade
8 fresh basil leaves -- chiffonade
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano

In a 6 quart pot, add extra-virgin olive oil. When almost smoking, add the onion and garlic and saute over medium heat until the onions become very soft, about 8 minutes. Add the celery and carrot and saute for 5 minutes. Raise heat to high and add the ground beef. Saute, stirring frequently and breaking up any large lumps and cook until meat is no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes, parsley and basil and cook over medium low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1/2 hour. Finish bolognese with Pecorino Romano. Check for seasoning. Serve hot.
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