I don’t know about you, but I am a huge fan of pasta Bolognese. When I was 5 years old my family and I were traveling to the US, and had a stopover in Rome. That evening we dined in our hotel’s bistro; it was one of my earliest childhood memories, sitting behind a small wooden table with a large bowl of spaghetti Bolognese in front of me. I remember being frustrated as I was struggling to pick the spaghetti up with my fork… I was 5, I could barely negotiate a knife and a fork confidently. The waiter came over and patiently sat with me showing me how to hold the fork upright and twirl it in my fingers, picking up the spaghetti securely as well as the ragu sauce. I believe I became a connoisseur of pasta Bolognese right at that moment. For real!
My friend Captain Bread of Jardine Bakery fame, told me about a shooter called tequila Bolognese the other day, and I must admit that my curiosity got the better of me. What if we made the real thing? What if we used the finest meats around, and substituted the usual red wine for gold tequila? We set a date and, as they say, the rest was history. Here is our evening in pictures:
We used a selection of fresh herbs: leek flowers, sage, thyme, rocket, fennel bulb & Italian parsley. For the meaty part, we used 3kg’s of pork, veal & lamb mince as well as some pancetta lardons.
I sautéed onions and garlic together with some olive oil until they were soft and caramelized. I then deglazed them with a lot of tequila. Like a quarter of the bottle a lot. Yeah, you know if you’re going to make tequila Bolognese you really need to embrace things and believe in your cause.
I cooked off all the mince & the pancetta separately, not using any oil, and added it all to the boozy onion & garlic mix. Cue some more tequila, and more sautéing. You cook off most of the alcohol, so don’t be afraid of getting boozed from this. We’re only after the flavor of the tequila. *Winks* I then added chopped sage, fennel bulb, thyme & Italian parsley. I also tossed in a tin of tomato paste, a tin of whole peeled tomatoes and a liter of lamb stock, thanks to NoMu and their fabulous fonds. The lid of the pot went on, the heat was turned right down and was left alone for the next 3 hours. Time for some in-house entertainment, folks!
Once the 3 hours were up, I finished the meat sauce off with leek flowers, salt and pepper and the secret ingredient: balsamic vinegar reduction flavoured with black Turkish figs. It was then time to get the pasta made. In my opinion, thick ribbon pasta is the most ideal shape for a full-flavored meat sauce. Our pasta machine’s settings were only able to cut tagliatelle, so we hand-cut the pasta like this:
A thoroughly enjoyable evening albeit fairly exploratory – during the evening we received a host of interested and indignant tweets about the meal… I’m really about pushing the boundaries with flavors and trying new things, so if this is your cup of tea, give it a go – I’m certain you won’t be disappointed!