Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Quick(er) and Easy Bolognese Sauce - Oh, Yes, I Love My Kitchen Gadgets

The other evening, The Aussie and I were strolling down memory lane via Google Maps in satellite view. We used to work in NYC, which is light years away from the Texas suburbs. We love living in Texas, but we really miss all of the old places we used to go. Especially our favorite restaurants. It was good to see that some of them are still there, years later.

Our favorite Italian restaurant has changed, unfortunately. New name, new menu. I used to order the old restaurant's pappardelle with bolognese sauce. Oh, it was good.  In honor of the old restaurant and the many meals we enjoyed there, I wanted to make a bolognese sauce last night. Traditionally, bolognese takes at least an hour and a half to simmer on the stove. I have seen some recipes that call for 4 hours of cooking. I had (almost) enough time to make it on the stove, but I really wanted to see how it would come out in the pressure cooker. Brilliantly well, as it turns out.   

Bolognese Sauce

1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb ground pork
3 oz pancetta (or bacon) chopped
3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped *
1 onion, finely chopped *
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can tomato paste
1 T Worcestershire sauce
1 cup red wine
1 cup stock (I used chicken)
1 T oregano
olive oil
salt to taste
1/2 cup milk

To Do:

* Being the gadget hound that I am, I put the carrots and onion in to my Ninja and blitzed them until they were very finely chopped. If you don't have any sort of food processor, finely chop the onions and carrots.

With the pressure cooker insert in place, heat up the cooker on saute. Add a small drizzle of olive oil and let it heat up. Put the pancetta in the pot and cook until fat starts to render off, about 5 minutes.

Next, add the onion and carrot mixture and the minced garlic, cook for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, to cook out some of the moisture.

The ground pork and ground beef go in next. Browning the meat should take about 10 minutes, and while it browns, use your spoon to break the meat in to small pieces. The tomato paste can be added halfway through the browning.

Finally, the red wine, stock, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, and a big pinch of salt go in. Mix thoroughly.  (Don't worry about the milk yet, it goes in after you pressure cook the sauce)

Double check that the gasket is in place, put the cover on your cooker, and move it into the locked position. Turn the cooker on to high pressure and set the timer for 30 minutes.  

Because I am impatient, I used the quick release method to let the pressure out of the cooker.  The beauty of electric pressure cookers is that you can't open the cover until the pressure is released.  They may not cook at as high a pressure as older style pressure cookers, but you won't have to worry about scaring yourself. *boom* They can make a very loud noise when you open them too soon. Not that I ever did that... nope... must have been someone else... *looks around whistling*

Once the pressure is released, open up the cooker. Select simmer, stir in the milk, and let the sauce cook down for 10 minutes or until it reaches a consistency that you prefer. Adjust seasoning if needed.

Please excuse the less than brilliant pictures. They just didn't design home kitchens with food bloggers in mind when they built our house.  If you aren't a fan of pasta, or if it isn't a fan of you, this sauce would be fantastic on spaghetti squash or zoodles.

If you are looking to prepare this on the stove top, use a heavy bottomed pan, such as a dutch oven, with a cover. Follow the same steps, but the milk can be added after about 30 minutes. Simmer on medium low for at least 90 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it isn't sticking on the bottom of the pan.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. It's rich, hearty, and not too tomato-y. The perfect thing for a winter dinner.

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