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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Recycled Veal Bolognese

There are variations on 'Bolognese' sauce, but mostly it's a tomato-based meat sauce with onion, carrot and butter.  To make it authentically, and correctly, requires a fair bit of effort, and includes several stages.  

It is worth it.

This is probably my favourite pasta sauce.

I love making it, and am pretty good at it.  In fact, many of the techniques used in making this sauce have become staple methodologies in most of my sauces in general.  If you've followed me regularly, you'll note that I rely heavily on sweating (a precursor to almost every one of my sauces), and am also a big fan of sautéing and - when meat is involved - braising.

All of these are necessary when making a true Bolognese from scratch.

Today, however, I'm not making one from scratch.  ;)

I think a good cook is also a creative and inventive one, and I certainly have that down if I do say so myself.
So take a look at this, rather ingenious, quick and easy way of making what is essentially a Veal Bolognese sauce.

So, you'll remember that I recently made what I called a "Kitchen Sink Soup".  In fact I still had a fair bit of that in the fridge.  You'll also recall that that was mostly a beef broth with carrots and onion, some garlic, tomato and shallot.

In fact, here's a photo from that day:

Doesn't that sound like it would be a great base for a pasta sauce?

With a little tweaking, anyway...

So, firstly, I puréed the leftover soup with my trusty immersion blender.

Not too appetizing at this point.  Just wait.

For now, we're going to just dump that smooth purée into the slow cooker.

This may not seem like much, but there is an insane concentration of flavour in there.  Yup.  Insane.

Next, I took another bunch of tomatoes, chopped em up, puréed them as well, and then cooked them down to concentrate them (and remove unwanted water).

Then I added some more garlic.  Because I love garlic.

After about 10 or 15 minutes, the tomatoes are nicely red and concentrated.

Doesn't that look amazing?

I could just drink that.

Anyway, that gets thrown in the slow cooker as well.  And I'm going to add some bay leaves.

Now here's the coup de grâce.  We were out for supper the other night at a delightful restaurant by the name of 7Numbers.  Truly amazing food, and we ordered much of it.  Even though there were three of us and we all had hefty appetites, we still ended up bringing home some leftovers.

For the wife and I, that was a couple of veal meatballs.  Polpette D'Rosa is what they were called.  And holy shit they were good.

The picture really doesn't do them any justice at all.  These babies were heavenly.

Anyway... you can see where this is going, can't you?

Although they did NOT need any more tender loving to be delicious, I had the time, and I wanted to infuse the sauce with as much goodness as possible, I carefully put these in the slow cooker with the sauce, and set them to braising for the afternoon.

There was just enough sauce to barely cover the meatballs, and after about 4 hours, the sauce was perfect.

Served over some fresh rigatoni noodles, this was so freaking good.  Too good.  Almost.  Like I had dreams about it good.

So, while this was not as chunky as an authentic Bolognese, I feel justified still referring to this sauce as such, because all the elements were still there.  Actually, the flavours were even more intense and rich than normal.  The beef soup lent an amazing depth and richness to the sauce, and the meatballs were just delectable.

This was probably one of the most delicious things I have ever created.  I'm truly sorry for the world that it was completely removed from existence by me and the wife, in a matter of a few short minutes.  I feel like it should have had a more illustrious life.

Join me in a brief moment of quiet reflection and contemplation, for this; my quick and easy Veal Bolognese of a cold Tuesday night in February.