Thank God, the weather is warming up, it may be too good to be true but I’m going to enjoy it while I can. A few days ago, when it was frigid outside, (talk about weather schizophrenia) I wanted something slow cooked and comforting. I am utterly and completely indecisive about what to cook. Though, I love food and talking about food, it takes me quite some time to figure out what to actually make. My routine is looking into my fridge then into my pantry for inspiration. Sometimes, I’ll defrost some meat with no clear idea of what to make and then when it is time to prepare it, I end up with something. This is just me, sometimes I wish I could plan my meals out in a more organized fashion, but I guess I still get something on the table.
So, back to me needing warmth and comfort in cold weather. I took out ground veal, thinking I would make aaloo keema, a common Pakistani dish of ground meat and potatoes. My husband could eat this everyday and it is so easy to prepare, that I probably do make it once a week. But, I decided I was just not in the mood for aaloo keema. Maybe, meatballs and pasta? No breadcrumbs, darn! (Though I could have made fresh ones—lazy!) That brought me to bolognese. It sounded perfect in my mind, simmering over the stove for hours would yield what tastes I was looking for. Plus, bolognese required hardly any hard work on my part.
Slow-cooked flavors of rosemary, mushrooms, homemade chicken stock, balsamic vinegar all molded into magic. I love meals that make themselves. It turned out to be, just what I was in the mood for.
adapted from a CHOW recipe
1 pound ground veal
1 red onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 bay leaf
5-6 gloves of garlic, chopped
2 sprigs of rosemary, chopped
2 cups mushrooms, chopped (any variety you like)
1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chicken stock, homemade or good quality store-bought
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, optional
half a bunch of parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon crushed red chili flakes, or to taste
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 box bow-tie pasta
Parmigiano Reggiano for serving
Heat a heavy-bottomed pan on medium heat with the olive oil. Add in the onions and carrots and allow them to sweat for 5 minutes. Next, add in the garlic, bay leaf, crushed red chili flakes, and rosemary. Cook for a minute or two and add in the ground veal, mushrooms, salt, and black pepper. Break up the veal with your spoon and mix around until it is evenly separated. When the veal has started to get a little color on it, about 5 minutes, add the tomatoes. Allow to simmer for a few minutes until the tomatoes start to bubble a bit. Next, add in the balsamic vinegar, chicken stock, and Worcestershire sauce. Turn the heat to low and let the pot simmer for about an hour and a half. After the hour and a half, add the milk, butter, and parsley and allow to simmer for another hour or so. Check for seasoning. Toss in some parmigiano reggiano and some fresh parsley leaves at the end. Serve with pasta, potatoes, or whatever you like!