There is definitely not a chill in the air here in Key West. But just knowing that the first day of fall was upon us, I had to jump into fall mode and make a stew. Actually, it was a Ragu. Last month Dr. Deb's at Good Wines Under $20 posted about the September issue of Food & Wine Magazine. It highlighted "Italy's best recipes" and she noted all the good recipes and how well the magazine did with the wine recommendations. (It is a great issue for Italian wine education!) So I dug my copy out of my stack of "magazines to read" and found a yummy ragu to whip up on this first fall weekend. I did make a few alterations to this recipe. I did not have any corzetti pasta so I used my "maccheroni al torchia". I love to shop for pasta that has unusual shapes and I found this one on my summer trip up to Chicago. I think I may have did a post on the shapes when I purchased them because they were so cool! Here is a photo of them uncooked (left) and cooked (right). OK Deb, move on!
Corzetti Pasta With Veal Ragu (Adapted from the September issue of Food & Wine)
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (I used a mix of dried mushrooms that I had on hand)
3 cups hot water
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 sweet onion cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 carrots (I used 3) cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 celery rib (I used 3) cut into 1/2 inch dice
Two 3/4 veal shanks (about 1-1/2 inches thick) cut into 2 inch pieces, bones reserved
Salt and freshly ground pepper
All purpose flour for dusting
1 cup dry red wine
1 - 14 oz. can peeled Italian tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 marjoram sprig - I used a good teaspoon of dried and I also added a good teaspoon of dried thyme
1 pound corzetti - I used my maccheroni al torchio
Soak your dried mushrooms in the hot water for about 15 minutes. Remove mushrooms with slotted spoon and chop - save the water.
In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add onion, carrots and celery and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Remove to a plate.
Add the other 2 tablespoons of oil to hot pan. Season the veal with salt and pepper and dust with flour. Add the meat and the bones to pan and cook over moderately high heat until browned, turning once, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and cook, scraping up any of those yummy bits that are stuck on the bottom, and cook until wine is almost evaporated.
Return the veggies to the pan and add the tomatoes, marjoram, thyme and the mushrooms. Slowly pour in your leftover water that the mushrooms steeped in, but take care not to get the grit off of the bottom into your ragu.
Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 2 hours. Scoop out the marrow from the bones and stir back into the ragu. Toss the bones.
Cook your pasta until al dente. You can then add the pasta to the ragu or do like me and just put pasta in a deep bowl and ladle ragu on top.
If you like you can add shaved parmigiano-reggiano cheese to the dish. Lovely!
I also want to tell you about a wine that I sipped out on the deck the other night, a 2006 California Pinot Grigio called Redwood Creek. It is produced by the Frei Brothers from Modesto, California who established their vineyards back in 1890. Redwood Creek was nice, crisp and went along with my fall theme, as on the palate was the flavor of nice crisp apples, with hints of peach and citrus. Falling under my $10 week night wine budget, I was glad I purchased a couple of bottles as it is truly a refreshing wine!
A wonderful blogging friend, Valli over at More Than Burnt Toast has tagged me for a MeMe. You must visit Valli's site as she was lucky enough to go to Greece last year and attend a cooking school. She shares with us her wonderful photos, as well as the lovely dishes she learned to make while at the school. OK Valli, just a few notes about me.
My favorite appliance, if you call it that, is an outdoor grill. I so enjoy cooking outdoors and do so about 3 to 4 times a week. I like using charcoal, but mostly cook on a gas grill. I will try cooking anything on the grill!
A major pastime of mine is reading food and wine magazines and best of all is cookbooks! Cookbooks rule and I have a substantial collection!
As you can tell, cooking has been a passion of mine since the days I would spend cooking with my grandmother on her farm. So much of a passion that our son is now a chef and graduated from the Culinary Institute of American in New York!
A gadget I cannot live without is my salad spinner! I hate wet, limpy lettuce and greens!
I do not have a sweet tooth, so I am not much of a dessert person unless it involves chocolate! I would much have an extra appetizer than dessert.
I so enjoy being outdoors as much as I can, unless I am behind the stove. I do container gardening, mostly growing herbs and hot peppers with a couple of tomato plants when the season permits. One day, either in this life or my next, I would love to have a small farm where I could have an extensive garden and a few chickens. Oh, and maybe a goat!
Last but definitely not least is WINE! Every meal with wine is so sublime! Wine is the perfect way to start the end of your day!