Family Comfort Food

(bolognese at sportello from thecincygobbler)

A couple of weeks ago, Scott and I went to sportello for our wedding anniversary.  sportello is local chef-cum-restaurateur Barbara Lynch's take on an urban Italian diner, serving homemade, comfort-y, pastas, soups, and the like.

It was mighty tastey.  Perhaps not the most romantic but the food and wine was exceptional.

So exceptional, that I requested the recipe for one of the dishes that we ordered, the tagliatelle alla bolognese.  What made this sublime was an earthy flavor that can only be found in the addition of the chicken livers.

We've got a big Sutton family gathering coming up this Columbus Day weekend.  I figure hearty + comfort might keep everyone behaving - and then should send folks into a good and proper food coma.

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 large stalk celery, diced
1 large carrot, diced
5 oz. chicken livers, trimmed and finely chopped
1/4 chopped fresh sage
1.5 lbs total of ground veal, pork, and lamb
1.5 cups red wine
1.5 cups chicken or beef stock
1.5 chopped canned tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a large deep skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the onion, celery, and carrot, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender.  8 to 10 minutes.  Add the chicken livers and sage, season with a little salt and pepper, and cook, stirring until the livers lose their red color, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the ground meats in batches, letting it brown a little before adding more.  Season with a pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper, and cook, stirring until no red or pink color remains.  Pour off most of the fat.  Add the wine, increase the heat to high, and boil the wine until it's almost gone, 10 to 15 minutes.  Add the broth, tomatoes, and basil.  Bring to a boil and then adjust the heat to a gentle simmer.  You should see an occasional bubble but not a boil.  Cook, uncovered, until the sauce is thick, dark, and rich, about 1 hour.  Stir in the cream, if using, and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes to heat it through.

Serve with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.


Unknown said...

Wow, that looks so indulgant...it's on my rainy day list now also. Thanks for getting the recipe!

Jennifer said...

This sounds very much like the sauce my dad's girlfriend makes, and it has to be the best bolognese sauce I have ever eaten. The livers really do make a major difference. Thankfully she loves to cook and share what she cooks, and I love to eat what she cooks!

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