Posts tagged ‘Trinity’

September 12, 2011

Pappardelle alla Bolognese

Pappardelle alla Bolognese


2  tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3   tablespoons butter

3   carrot, finely, diced

2   medium onions, diced

4   rib celery, finely diced

5   cloves garlic, diced

1   pound ground beef

1   pound ground pork

1   pound ground lamb

¼   pound pancetta or slab bacon, ground

9   oz. tomato paste

3   medium tomatoes, roasted and diced

1   cup milk

1   cup dry white wine

salt and freshly ground black pepper

Parmigiano-Reggiano, for grating

Wide noodle pasta, cooked and drained


In a large 8-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and sweat over medium heat until the vegetables are translucent and soft but not browned, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Add the beef, pork, lamb, and pancetta and stir into the vegetables. Add the meat over high heat, stirring to keep the meat from sticking together until browned.

Add the tomato paste, roasted tomatoes, milk, and wine and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 ½ hours.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and remove from the heat.

Mix a little sauce with cooked and drained pasta and toss gently.  Serve in large bowls and add additional sauce as necessary.  Top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Pasta has long been near the top of my favorite comfort foods list.  There is something about it that just makes me feel so satisfied after a nice bowl of tasty pasta.  I don’t make pasta dishes nearly as much as I should at home and I am always browsing restaurant menus for my favorite combination of pasta and sauce….a wide noodle Bolognese.  I love meat…and by definition, Bolognese is a meat sauce.  It doesn’t get any better than that!

I have had many different versions of Bolognese and they all seem to be a bit different; mostly all good, but just different.  With a little time in front of the computer with my friend, Google, I set out to find out what a real Bolognese sauce was.

From what I was able to gather, Bolognese is a simple, hearty meat sauce in every sense of the word , that dates back at least to the 5th century.  The meat is usually comprised of beef and pancetta and sometime pork as well.  It is mixed with very few other competing ingredients, such as the traditional mirepoix (a mix of diced carrots, celery, and onions), garlic, tomato paste, wine, and milk.  It really is a very simple mix that yields a very meaty, thick sauce.  Some add tomatoes, including myself, giving it more of a red color.  The traditional recipe, without the tomatoes, yields a much more brown colored sauce.

With my admission of adding tomatoes, I guess the word is out that I am not a cooking purist, so I might as well divulge my other straying’s in the Bolognese world.  I have been experimenting with the different meats included and have found that mixing several types yields a much more complex, deeper taste.  In this recipe, I used, beef, pork, lamb, and pancetta.  That should be enough meats!

It should be noted that the Italians do not pair a Bolognese sauce with the pasta shape spaghetti. Wider shaped pastas are thought to hold up to the heavy sauce better and provide the right balance of noodle to sauce.  To each their own though…

May 16, 2011

Braised Beef Short Ribs

In spite of Margie’s recent cholesterol test results, we decided to combat the extra long Pacific NW winter gloom with some of the best comfort food known to man – braised meat. Braising is a slow-cooking technique used to produce tender meats. We like it. A lot. In addition to being tender, the resulting dish tends to be rich since the meat cooks in its own fat and juices. Bring on the fat, but don’t tell Margie’s doctor. When dining out, we’ve started noticing the same technique applied to vegetables like “greens.“

Before embarking on a labor-intensive recipe (such as this one), it’s important to ensure you are properly equipped. From time to time, we’ll try to introduce you to some kitchen tools. For now, we’d like to introduce you to the absolute basics.

Proper Footwear: For time-consuming recipes, you’ll want to ensure your feet remain comfortable and pain-free. For us, this means crocs. Just like our cats, our crocs are “indoor only,” not to be worn in public, by anyone, EVER.

Crocs (our ideal cooking footwear)

Cooking Oil: No, we’re not talking about grapeseed oil or olive oil (although they’re now finding that it does not tolerate heat well)…we’re talking about the fluids that help loosen you up for some good, creative cooking. If your craft is golfing, you know this as “swing oil.” We recommend that you find a bottle of your favorite wine or craft beer and pour yourself a nice glass before embarking on the cooking mission ahead of you.

Cooking Oil


Another goal we’d like to accomplish with this blog is to introduce folks to some cooking terminology. As our repertoire expanded beyond collegiate favorites (Margie’s roommates would vouch for the brilliance of “chicken in the mud”), we’ve been forced to learn some hoity-toity kitchen terms. We thought we’d share some of those with you.

Several of the ingredients in this recipe constitute what is called the “trinity.” This describes the medley of chopped carrots, celery, and onions, often used in sauces and braises. Margie is NOT a fan of cooked carrots, but is oddly accepting of them in this somewhat camouflaged form.  If you are over for dinner and hear Margie refer to it as the “trifecta” or “triumvirate”, nod in agreement, but keep in mind she meant trinity.


And now for the recipe…

Braised Beef Short Ribs

3.5 lbs           beef short ribs



2 T.                  cooking oil  (we used grapeseed oil, but vegetable or olive would work)

1T.                   cooking oil

1                      yellow onion, diced small

3                      garlic cloves, minced

3                      carrots, diced small

2                      celery stalks, diced small

2 T.                  thyme, chopped

750ml             red wine (preferably a strong one like cabernet sauvignon)

4 shots           espresso

32 oz.              beef stock

15.5 oz.           canned diced tomatoes

3 oz.                canned tomato paste

4 T.                  grainy mustard

3 T.                  flat leaf parsley, chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Trim all beef ribs of excess fat and any silver skin.  Season meat generously with salt and pepper, on all sides.  In a heavy, cast iron pot (we used Le Creuset) heat 2 T. cooking oil over med-high heat .  Add short ribs to pot and brown on all sides.  Cook meat in batches if necessary.   Once browned, remove from pot and discard rendered fat.  Wipe pot clean.

Meat browning in progress


Heat remaining 1 T. cooking oil in pot over medium heat.  Add garlic and onions and sauté until browned, about 5-7 minutes.  Add carrots and celery, continuing to sauté for 3-4 minutes more.  Add thyme and stir to mix.

Add the wine, espresso, and half of the beef stock to the vegetable mixture and bring to a boil.  Add diced tomatoes, tomato stock and mustard and mix well.

Braising begins...

When we decided to make this recipe, Mike invited our good friend Scott to join us.  Mike and Scott decided the meal was worthy of one of their “big guns” wines. Both Mike and Scott had acquired a bottle of this fantastic wine, a 1997 Super Tuscan, Bacio Divino, years ago. We opened the first one while we were still cooking to sample the wares. While both wines were excellent, they had both aged to have very different taste profiles. Ours was fairly earthy while Scott’s was a bit more fruit forward.  Both were excellent wines, and it was interesting to taste two identical bottles next to each other and compare difference, bottle to bottle.

Mmm, tasty!

Return the browned short ribs to pot and add beef stock until all ribs are covered by liquid.  Place pot in oven, covered and braise for 3-3.5 hours until meat is tender, flipping occasionally throughout braising period.

Remove short ribs from pot and set aside.  Reduce liquid over med-high heat until reduce by at least 1/3, or to your desired thickness.

As sides to the braised short ribs, we served some Parmesan polenta, over which the ribs were placed along with some roasted shallots and Brussels sprouts.   Not everyone is a fan of polenta, but Mike has been somewhat fixated on it lately, so that is what we had that night.  The choice of Brussels sprouts was an easy one for us, as it is one of our favorites (look for a blog post about our favorite recipe for them in the future) and simple roast vegetables satisfy Margie’s health quotient while also not detracting from the star of the show.

Veggie Nirvana

Serve beef short ribs over parmesan polenta of mashed potatoes.  Drizzle with reduced sauce.

Sprinkle with parsley to finish.


Dinner is served

Did I mention it was a great night?

Good food was had with good wine and good friends.  Sorry we didn’t save any…

CPC (clean plate club)