As you can probably tell, I love to bake. It’s my escape from life’s problems, my chance to create and share with the world. Cooking, on the other hand, doesn’t bring me quite as much joy. I get stuck there, not always sure how to proceed, and frustration ensues. It’s just not as intuitive to me as baking.
Because of this, I’m not always well-prepared for cooking. Flour, sugar, eggs, baking soda, vanilla? Yup, they’re always well-supplied. My ingredients on hand are far more haphazard when it comes to the main dish. Especially since my kids, like locusts, ravenously rip through all the produce. It’s not a bad thing that they love fruits and veggies, but it’s hard to depend upon them when the kids chow down constantly. 10 lbs of apples in a week? Small time. 6 lbs of bananas? You bet. An entire bunch of celery in 2 days? Piece of cake. Just because I bought it doesn’t mean it’ll be there when I need it.
So earlier this week when I was planning on making the Wintery Beef Bolognese from Erik Eats’s blog, I thought I was all set to proceed. I dutifully bought the ingredients needed on Friday and hadn’t really cooked anything in particular that would have used them up. This should have been a cakewalk.
Instead, I opened the fridge Tuesday morning and found one limp, leafy little stalk of celery left in the bag. That’s it, folks. Gone. No matter, I would just pick some up on the way home from school Wednesday. Erik himself even tried to help, reminding me on Twitter early in the day of my celery errand. He meant well. But my mind is a sieve these days and as soon as I pulled into the driveway–and promptly got stuck on the ice in my parking spot–I realized I forgot to go to the store. Bugger!
It’s funny how the internet is like a party that’s constantly going on. I got on Twitter to share my snafu and almost immediately, Erik responded. We may be separated by something like 10 states, but there he was, online at the same time. Then again this morning–after finally getting to the grocery store to pick up that celery, and walking out with $50 worth of other stuff in addition–when I wasn’t sure when to put the celery into the pot, there he was, just when I needed him. A girl could get used to this kind of assistance. 🙂
In any case, despite the cosmos aligning against me, the bolognese sauce got made at last! And really, it isn’t that difficult–as long as you have the right supplies on hand. Next time, I’m planning my cooking for grocery day so the kids don’t eat my ingredients up on me before I get to them! As for the sauce, just make it. It’s that good. (And thanks, Erik!)
- 2 Tbsp roasted garlic infused grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1-2 Tbsp steak rub
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 cups all natural, low-sodium chicken stock
- 1 6-oz can tomato paste
- Parmesan or Peccorino Romano to taste as topping
- 1 lb fettucini or other flat-noodle pasta, cooked al dente
- In a large pan, heat the grapeseed oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion and celery and saute until the onion pieces are translucent, maybe 6 minutes or so.
- Add the garlic, being careful not to brown it or it will get bitter, so maybe 3 minutes or so.
- Add the ground beef and pork, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon.
- Add the seasoning and brown evenly.
- Cover and drain the fat from the pan.
- Return to heat and add the white wine, cooking until the liquid is evaporated.
- Add the chicken stock and tomato paste, cooking until it simmers.
- Remove from the stove and dump the sauce into a crock pot and cook on low for 5-8 hours.
- Serve over a flat noodle, like fettucini, topped with some grated Parmesan or Peccorino Romano. (I topped mine with some freshly grated Raspberry Bellavitano and it was delicious!)