Game wrapping the classics

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There are a few dishes that every good cook should know how to prepare.  Pasta Bolognese is one of them.  This is a fantastic meal to prepare over the course of a lazy Sunday with friends and family.  Here is what you will need:

 

  • 3 bottles of a dry white wine. 
  • A bottle of gin
  • 1 big carrot
  • 1 big stalk of celery
  • 1 medium onion (I use yellow)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg (I prefer freshly grounded) 
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 28 oz can whole tomatoes (I really like Muir Glen organic tomatoes)
  • 1 lbs ground beef (I prefer grass-fed beef from this place
  • Your choice of pasta (it goes best with tagliatelle)
  • 4 T butter
The first thing you will need to do when making bolognese is pour yourself a glass of wine at 10 in the morning.  A big glass.  Next, you need to finely dice the carrot, celery, and onion, taking care to sip your wine in between as many cuts as possible.  

When your veggies are diced, place the butter and onion inside of a dutch oven and turn up the heat to medium.  Do not pre-heat your dutch oven.  You do not want to burn your veggies.  Once the butter melts, the onion should take about 3-5 minutes to cook through.  Do not let it burn.  Once the onion is cooked, add the carrot and celery and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, stirring as necessary.  

Your next step is to check your wine glass and make sure that it is full.  Check your cooking partner's glass to make sure that it is full as well.  Offer up a fresh glass of wine to anyone who may be just getting out of bed in the house.  Once you have made the wine rounds, move the veggies to the edge of the pot and place the ground beef in the center, salting and peppering as needed (I typically start with a 1/2 t of each).  

Cook the beef until it loses its red color.  You do not want to brown the beef or burn it.  Once the beef is ready, add the whole milk to the pot.  Allow the milk to boil off completely, taking care to gently stir all of the ingredients during the boiling-off process.  Right before the milk completely boils away, add the nutmeg and stir.  

When the milk is completely boiled away, add 1 cup of white wine to the pot.  Take a moment to celebrate and pour yourself another glass, as the rest is all yours.  

When the wine is 1/2 boiled away, add a splash of gin to the pot.  Take a moment to celebrate and pour yourself some gin, as it too is all yours.  

By now you should be mildly buzzed at 10:30.  Relax, this is where the fun begins.  When the wine/gin has completely boiled away, open up your can of tomatoes, take a pair of kitchen shears and cut  up the tomatoes as best you can before pouring the contents (juice included) into the pot.  Turn down the heat to its lowest setting, pour yourself another drink, and go impress your significant other with stories about how much you care about him/her because of your early-morning cooking session/excuse-to-drink-very-early-in-the-day.  Your only bolognese-related duty from here on out is to check the sauce every 30-45 minutes to ensure it is a) not boiling and b) that it has enough moisture to properly cook.  Slow and low is the tempo with this dish and you are looking at 4-7 hours of cooking.  In order to keep the dish moist (and to keep your drunken ass laughing at the word "moist") you will need to add 1/2-1 cup water every now and then to keep everything submerged.  However, when you are about an hour out from eating, you will need to boil the water away...so write that one down so you won't forget when you (and your guests/family members) are finishing off the remaining 2 1/2 bottles of wine and gin.  

Now comes the best part of cooking an all-day meal: You can leisurely spend the rest of the day doing one or more of the following activities:
  • Menial housework 
  • Small house repairs (Nothing fancy; remember, you should not be operating any heavy machinery or getting up on the roof.) 
  • Making home-made cheese to enjoy with your meal. 
  • Play cards
  • Lawn bowl
  • Play basketball
  • Cat nap
You can figure out some interesting things to do on your own, but remember: check the sauce every 30-45 minutes so that you a) can take a few minutes in the kitchen to refresh your drink(s), b) make it look like you are slaving over a hot stove, and c) to refresh your drink(s).  

When you are getting ready to eat, and after you have added your last dose of water to the pot, you should boil a large pot of water for your noodles.  You should also prepare some veggies to go with your dish.  I like to serve sautéed asparagus with this particular meal but any green veggie will do the trick.  However, if you are going to be drinking, you can't go wrong with asparagus because who here amongst us does not like to giggle at funny-smelling pee?  

Serve the sauce over a heaping dose of noodles and enjoy with wine and gin.  

 

Well folks, that about does it for this game wrap.

Until later and don't forget to check out the NOLA perspective on the game over here: At The Hive

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