Monday, April 1, 2013

Bolognese Southern Style


My husband has become obsessed with a type of pasta called bucatini. It's like spaghetti, but it's hollow.  That's right.  There's a hole in the pasta down the length of it.  With a sauce not quite as thick as the one in the picture, you get sauce down into the pasta.  Genius!  We have to go to a specialty store where we live because they don't carry it in regular grocery stores here.  But, any time we drive by that specialty grocery store, you can bet my husband will want to go in there and get bucatini.

Now, bolognese is a type of sauce that comes from Bologna, Italy.  (No, it's not pronounced baloney.  It's pronounce balonya.)  Bologna is in the northern part of Italy.  It's a thick meat sauce with the addition of a little milk or cream and bacon or pancetta.  I, of course, had to change it up a little and do it my way, Southern style.  And, as I've told you before, my husband doesn't like soft or chewy bacon added into sauces.  So he came up with a completely out-of-the-box solution for giving the sauce bacon flavor without bacon soggy.  Are you ready???  He put the cooked bacon into a coffee grinder and made bacon dust.  So smart, that man.  And it worked.  All the bacon flavor and no soggy bacon.  You will definitely see that from me again somewhere down the road.

As far as the bucatini, use whatever pasta you like.  I would use a denser pasta that will hold up to this meaty sauce.  And you can use pancetta or bacon or leave it out altogether.  Same with the red wine.  If that's not your thing, leave it out.  And there is one other little surprise in this dish. See if you can find it.

Do you own a coffee grinder?  Better go get one.

PASTA BOLOGNESE
1 lb bucatini (or other dense pasta like penne)
1 lb ground beef
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 C Marinara sauce (homemade is preferrable)
1/2 C red wine
1-3 teaspoons red chili flake
1 T beef bouillon
1 C heavy cream
5 slices bacon, cooked, drained, and ground in a coffee grinder (you can skip the grind if you like)
1/4 C pepperoncini peppers, chopped (surprise!)
1/4 C Italian parsley, chopped
Salt & pepper to taste
Shredded mozzarella, for garnish

Cook the pasta according to directions.

For the sauce, preheat a large skillet to medium high heat and drizzle in some olive oil.  Cook the onion until it's tender.  Add in the ground beef and cook until it's done.  Add in the garlic, red chili flake, pepperoncini peppers, and beef bouillon and cook a couple of minutes.  Deglaze the pan with the red wine.  Add in the ground bacon and marinara sauce. Heat through.  Stir in the cream and cook until thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in the parsley.  Taste the sauce for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary.

Serve the sauce over the pasta and garnish with shredded mozzarella.

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