My Bolognese Sauce

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
2 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 large carrot, finely chopped
2 ribs celery, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 Tbs butter
1 Tbs fennel seed, measured then finely ground
1/4-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or to preferred heat level)
1 Tbs fish sauce (umami flavor!, salt replacement)
salt & pepper to taste (see below)
1 handful of fresh basil, chiffonaded

1. Melt butter in a large pot and saute on medium heat until the carrots, celery and onion are soft. Add the ground meat, incorporating well and browning meat until fully cooked.

2. Add the ground fennel seed, red pepper flakes and fish sauce. Mix and saute for 1-2 minutes until well combined and the fennel begins to become fragrant.

3. Add the tomato sauce and then cover with a metal mesh splatter guard and partially with a lid, to let steam escape and evaporate. Reduce heat to the lowest possible simmer setting and let cook for 1-2 hours, depending on personal preference. My bolognese relies heavily on tasting the sauce to know when it's done. Taste your sauce. If you think it needs further reducing, salt or pepper, then do so.

4. Add the basil towards the end of cooking the sauce, as the fresh basil flavor will basically cook out while the sauce is simmering and reducing.

5. Boil pasta to box directions or to preferred liking and then serve sauce on top of pasta.


Notes:

*Do not add garlic to your bolognese. With how long you cook your sauce, the garlic will only turn bitter and reflect so in the sauce. You do not want a bitter bolognese.

*Only add salt when you're nearly ready to serve, as you can always add salt but you cannot take it out. Adding salt to the beginning may concentrate the salt and make the end result sauce too salty. Keep this in mind for any cooking you may do.

*I personally prefer San Marzano tomatoes, but it's entirely up to you which brand and type of tomatoes to use. I also prefer to use crushed tomatoes rather than sauce, because I feel it creates a more hearty sauce.

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Thin Spaghetti with Crispy Bacon and Leeks

7:57 PM , , 0 Comments

Dinner tonight was extra delicious thanks to some hearty bacon! I've made this before and it had always been a little off, but I finally feel I have perfected the process and ingredients (pasta water!).


Thin Spaghetti with Crispy Bacon and Leeks

3/4 lb thin spaghetti
1 large leek
1/4 lb bacon
1 cup reserved pasta water
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, slice bacon in half lengthwise and then into 1/2" pieces. Remove the roots and green parts of the leek, thinly slice diagonally and thoroughly rinse under cold water to remove any sand, dirt or grit.

2. Toss bacon into an extra large frying pan and begin to render down over medium heat. Begin cooking the pasta as well.

3. Add the sliced leeks into the bacon once it begins to brown and become crispy. Toss it around to evenly coat the leeks in the bacon fat, cooking on medium. Turn the heat up to high after the leeks have softened to begin caramelizing the leeks and bacon. At this point, the thin spaghetti should be finished or nearly finished cooking. Make sure to reserve some of the pasta water and dilute it down if it's too salty.

4. Use tongs once the leeks and bacon begin to evenly caramelize, to add the thin spaghetti and toss until everything is evenly distributed. Add about 1 cup of the reserved pasta water and incorporate until the pasta is almost creamy. This may not take very long since the heat should still be on high. It's ready!

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Pate Brisee - The Easiest Pie Crust

Creating a pie crust can be one of the most daunting and challenging things to those unfamiliar to baking, but fret not! After growing up watching my mom effortlessly throw together a crust for apple pie and experimenting on my own for several years, I have this dough down pat (pun intended)! If you follow my directions and notes, your end result with be the flaky pie crust that you're wanting. This dough will yield two crusts (top and bottom layers). You can easily halve the recipe if you're making a galette.

Make this dough by hand!

Pate Brisee

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp sugar
1 cup butter, cold & cubed (2 sticks)
1/4-1/2 cup cold ice water (don't use the ice) [Note: more may be needed, depending on climate and humidity]

1. Blend the flour, salt and sugar together and then add the cubed butter. Evenly distribute the butter in the flour mixture but using either a fork or pastry blender. Blend this mixture until it begins to resemble a coarse meal.

2. Continuing to use a fork or pastry blender, gradually add the cold ice water in small increments (do NOT add it all at once) until the dough just begins to stick together. It may still appear to be slightly crumbly, but kneading the dough will bring it all together.

3. Wrap up the dough in plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. This will help to re-chill the butter so that it's firm and easier to work with. You do not want a warm, elasticity and sticky dough, as it'll be difficult to work with when rolled out.

4. From here just follow the recipe for whichever pastries you're baking! Such an easy dough!

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