This is going to be a long week of cooking. Actually, it is going to be a short week with a lot of cooking piled up front. To make Wednesday and Thursday easier, I am starting today. And I am starting big. Marcella Hazen’s Bolognese Sauce (The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, page 230) for Wednesday night’s lasagna. The recipe says this sauce will need to cook for three or more hours. What the recipe doesn’t say is that it takes about an hour to get to the point where the sauce can cook down for those three hours or more.
Don’t get me wrong. This is not a high-maintenance recipe. Simple ingredients. Simple instructions. But take your time. Really. It’s a science thing. I think if they had taught science in the context of cooking when I was in high school, I might have liked science. All apologies to my science teachers, but man, that was rough. Can we get a little baking in the curriculum?
I shortened the prep by using my food processer. Sautéing you onion in butter and vegetable oil is pretty basic. So is adding in carrot and celery.
Next is adding the meat, and Marcella says you need to salt the meat right away in order to “extract its juices.” I’m on board.
After that, you add your milk and let it boil off completely before adding your wine, which also needs to boil off. This part took longer than expected (milk especially). “Medium heat” seems to be a wide range. Once I got my heat right, I was worried that my simmer wasn’t gentle as specified, but it did help my milk bubble off.
Finally, I added the tomatoes. I was a bit worried that I hadn’t added enough tomato because it looked runny and not at all red.
Trust me, it’s good. Wait for a bit. After five hours on the stove, my sauce looked and smelled amazing.
Tomorrow, we will assemble the lasagna.