A new look at cooking and home decorating...with an attempt to add more greens to the plate, more vegetarian options & hopefully lots of new ideas to explore

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Settling in for winter

With darling children back to school, Halloween costumes ordered, and winter clothing all laundered and ready to wear, I welcome the winter. It is the season of soups and hearty stews.

With autumn in mind, yesterday, I peeled carrots, chopped onions, and minced celery in order to make my first soffritto of the fall. Though soffrittos can vary from country to country, they are usually a mixture of carrot onion and celery. Sometimes in Latin cooking there might be chili minced in as well. In French cooking this cooking base is called a Mirepoix. Yesterday I hand chopped mine because I love the sound and feel of the knife on my heavy wooden cutting board. Often though, you will see soffritto thrown into a food processor. The food processor tends to make the vegetables more watery, but saves vast amounts of time if you are in a hurry.

What was all this work for? - Ragu Bolognese. A specialty from the area of Bologna Italy. The region know as Emilia Romagna is famous for it wonderful Ragus, cheeses, veal dishes, and roasted pears as well as many other specialties. It is a region of Gourmet food items. The milk is what interests me the most. The region has a lot of dairy, so unlike more southern Italian sauces, this sauce is simmered with milk and often has heavy cream added back in at the end, which makes for a “pink” colored sauce. The Ragu is perfect if served with polenta wedges.

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