Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Dish: Pasta Bolognese

Many Americans when they think of Italian food think of the classic Italian-American dishes, and one of them is always pasta with meat sauce. In real Italian cooking this is usually referred to as a Bolognese sauce, because it originated and was perfected in Bologna. After spending a day in Bologna I actually managed to try the real deal, and while I have no idea if it's the best in Bologna it was pretty amazing. So far I have yet to have anything in New York close to this, but I find the biggest issue with American versions is that they are too afraid to cook it with the richness that it needs to be such a hearty meal. Plus, at least the one I had was with small cubed carrots, which actually added a nice sweet flavor to the meat, and very little tomato. Heck, what I had was so rich I wouldn't be surprised if there was butter or heavy cream in the sauce. The vast majority of Italian restaurants confuse a tomato meat sauce wit ha bolognese, and thus end up with something totally different. Most recently I had the bolognese with fusilli at Three of Cups, and a gnocchi bolognese at Lanza's. Even further back I have had a bolognese at Franks which is by far the best downtown that I have tried, and if memory serves me fat orange clog wearer has some form of a bolognese at Lupa, and I know I tried it but I can't remember much beyond being really really full and satisfied by that meal. Usually bolognese is served with Tagliatelle, and whenever I see this on a menu correctly I pretty much have to consider it as part of the game time decision.

When it comes down to it pasta bolognese is a great dish to order out, but in reality it probably the easiest and most fun and satisfying Italian dish to make at home. All you really need is some meat (usually beef), some tomato paste, and of course carrots. The rest varies, but many include heavy cream or milk and panchetta. It's a really easy dish, and when done correct can feed a lot of people in a delicious way.

The Real Meat Sauce

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