An evening cooking in Chalk Hill

I love cooking Italian-themed meals. Acquiring the last heirloom tomatoes of the season, scouting the Bay Area for the best Ahi tuna, making fresh pasta, and quickly searing a skirt steak over a hot fire are some of my favorite things.

Each of the courses I prepared have a suggested wine to pair with each dish, from our crisp proprietary white wine with Caprese salad to our elegant mouth-filling 1-T-L Cabernet Sauvignon.

It was a pleasure to cook for my friends from Charleston, South Carolina Bill and Margaret and to make some new friends that evening around the table. Thanks to everyone that night and I look forward to seeing you all again very soon. Cheers!

Bolognese Sauce Recipe

1 pound ground pork
½ pound ground beef
1 medium white or yellow onion, finely minced
1 large carrot, finely minced
1 Handful of dried porcini mushrooms
8 Cups liquid from soaking the dried porcinis 
10-15 leaves of fresh sage
¼ stick of unsalted butter
¼  cup of olive oil for finishing
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley or Basil, finely chopped for garnish
Parmigiano Reggiano to finish, Freshly grated or ribbon sliced

Soak you dried porcini mushrooms in about 8 cups of water for 30 minutes. Make sure porcinis are free of sand/dirt. Use a coffee filter to strain the liquid for use in the bolognese.

Heat up a 3 quart pot on medium heat and add butter and all of your ground beef and pork. Once all of the beef and pork are broken up (no chunks) add the onions and carrots, lowering the temperature to Low or Simmer and cook the onions and carrots for about 10 minutes.

If there is a crust on the bottom of the pan from all of the sautéing, you may add a little of your porcini liquid to prevent it from burning. Scrape the bits of caramelized meat, onions and carrot from the bottom of the pan.

Turn the heat back up to high and pour all of the porcini liquid into the pot and bring up to a boil. When boil is reached, turn the heat down to low. You may add the sage leaves. Partially cover the pot and allow the sauce to reduce until nearly all of the liquid had been evaporated. If one thinks of this dish as a slow braise, rather than a rapidly made sauce, the cooking time of 2 hours makes more sense, which is how long it will take on Low Heat to reduce all of the liquid.

Test for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. When the taste is satisfactory and liquid has been almost completely reduced, turn off the burner and add the remaining olive oil to the pot.

Scoop a moderate portion of Bolognese Sauce over your Pappardelle (do not over sauce) into a warm bowl. 

Add a dusting or several ribbons of Parmigiano to the top of the pasta along with a garnish of basil and a drizzle of olive oil.