RECIPE: BOLOGNESE STUFFED PEPPERS
Il Passatore on Bushwick Ave makes a mean Bolognese. I attempted to recreate it and though quite different, I am happy with the results which were adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s Classic Bolognese Recipe. When trolling for recipes online I choose the simplest, with the most accessible on-hand ingredients or those that can be easily substituted. I had a jug of heavy cream in the fridge so this one was appealing. I’d never heard of cream in meat sauce, but cream in anything is usually good.
Bolognese is a MEAT SAUCE with TOMATOES, not a TOMATO SAUCE with MEAT; different from what I grew up thinking and eye-openingly scarf-worthy.
This sauce is easy but like all good things it takes time. Use the best ingredients you can find. I know it’s more expensive but I love meat from The Meat Hook. It makes me feel less guilty for killing animals because I have the illusion they hang out in jacuzzis before they are slaughtered. The meat doesn’t originate from a horrible factory farm, thus it’s nutritionally and karmically better. I would have liked to use ground veal, because that is really ethical, but it’s special order at The Meat Hook. One thing I also forgot were peas, which are nice little sweet bursts of green. Parsley on top would be the icing on this meaty spaghetti cake.
Like all my cooking, I have no quantity meter. That is whether I am cooking for myself or 100 people, I cook for 100 people.
With the leftover sauce I stuffed these colorful peppers, which make great lunchbox meals.
2 Cups Heavy Cream (1 C. reduced to add at end; 1 C. at room temperature to stir in during simmering)
1 Italian Sausage
1 lb chopped chuck (veal, pork, lamb in this mix would be delicious)
1/2 C. chopped pancetta (or bacon)
1 C. chopped carrots
[1 C. chopped celery]
1 chopped onion
1/2 C. red wine [or white]
1-2 Bay leaf
Dash of hot red pepper flakes
2 minced garlic cloves
3 TBSP sun dried tomato paste dissolved in water [or meat stock]
[1/2 C. Peas]
Salt & Pepper
Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano Cheese
In a small heavy sauce pot reduce 1 C. of cream to 1/3. Meanwhile, brown the pancetta, then stir in the carrots, onions, bay leaf and hot red pepper flakes until tender. Salt & Pepper. In a bowl mix the sausage (casing off) and the chopped meat with salt & pepper, then add to the vegetables until brown. Stir in the wine, garlic and diluted tomato paste. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 2 hours, partially covered. Every so often stir in 1 C. of unreduced cream. After a few hours, stir in the reduced cream. Towards the end would also be a good time to stir in some peas. Salt & Pepper. Serve topped with parsley and grated parmesan or romano cheese over spaghetti or your choice of pasta.
Bolognese Stuff Peppers
4-6 Bell Peppers
1-2 C. Bolognese Sauce
1/2 C. Cooked White Rice (add some butter to warm rice)
3 TBSP Parmesan or Pecorino Romano Grated Cheese
1/2 C. Peas
2 Scrambled Eggs
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut off the tops of the peppers and set aside. Cut the bottom of the peppers as needed so they stand on their own. Remove the seeds and boil the peppers in salted water until tender but still firm. Remove and cool. In a separate bowl, combine the bolognese sauce, white rice, cheese, scrambled eggs and peas. Add the rice and sauce gradually to build your stuffing. You don’t want too much rice or too much meat. Stuff the peppers with the mixture and top with more grated cheese. Bake for 20 minutes with the tops on at 350 degrees.
*In brackets are ingredients I didn’t but could have used in this recipe. Most likely I forgot.