I saw a recipe for Bolognese sauce with stuffed shells in the local paper and it looked amazing. The opening sentence of the recipe says, “This is a long recipe, but worth it.” It should have said people could die of starvation waiting for this dish to be ready.
Day one begins with cutting a beef roast into 2-inch pieces, preparing a red-wine marinade and cutting vegetables (celery, onions and carrots) to add to the mix. Then 12 to 24 long hours have to pass before you can proceed to step two. Toss hamburgers on grill for dinner – family is lurking and drooling.
Day two, part A, “Cut 5 pounds of tomatoes in half at the Equator.” I wondered if that might involve air travel. No, just a really lot of tomatoes. Then you roast them in the oven until they begin to “blister.” Oops, must have left off the sunscreen. Recheck recipe – nope, no sunscreen.
Day two, part B, Take the meat out of the marinade and “dry off “the veggies. (Did you ever try to dry off celery pieces? And chopped onions?) Brown the meat and veggies – adding a second cup of wine to the pot. By then I have given the pot half and me the other half – do begin with a really nice cabernet; you won’t be sorry.
Transfer to roasting pan and add tomatoes. Pan is too small for this mountain of tomatoes. Find another pan. Bake 2-3 hours. Cool. Refrigerate overnight. We really are hungry now. Order pizza.
Day three, part A, I have completely lost interest in this dish now. Skim off fat. Take two forks and shred meat. Put rest of mixture through a food mill and return to pot. What’s a food mill? OK, a blender. I am barely even interested in tasting this stuff. Where is the rest of that wine?
Now I need to chop more veggies, sauté them in oil and add bouquet garni. There is no such thing in my pantry. I am now looking it up on Wikipedia.
Bouquet Garni: 1 bay leaf, 3 sprigs thyme, 4 large sprigs parsley (including stalks), 10 cm. piece of celery stalk with leaves and two 10 cm. pieces of leek (green part). OK, where’s my ruler? I know the recipe did not say I would need a ruler.
Day three, part B, To sautéed mixture add one 6-ounce can of tomato paste and 1/2 cup water. Simmer and serve.
Dish is finally ready for the big reveal! Unfortunately, there is no one home tonight to serve it to.
It’s not bad; in fact, it’s pretty tasty. Let’s face it, I’ve given it three of the best days of my life. Uh-oh! I forgot about the stuffed shells you are supposed to serve it over, another trip to the grocery store. What to do?
OK, here’s my plan. Finish the wine. Freeze the Bolognese sauce. May have to purchase large deep freezer – this recipe made a lot. Check personal calendar for free week to complete recipe. Am thinking 2020.