Friday, June 21, 2013

Fast Turkey Bolognese

Back with Bolognese

It's alright everyone, I still exist.

I didn't think blogging was the best idea these past two quarters.   I wasn't ready to spend two to three hours writing a post so that I could adequately express what was on my mind, but since being home for 2 weeks for summer break I've been able to delve into serious introspection without worrying about making the midnight deadline for a team research paper.

The thing about blogging is that like your most reliable friend, it's always there.  Sure, I do have a small handful of readers that keep me semi-accountable to keep consistently posting, but at the same time this little corner of the internet will always be here.  It is always there for me when I am finally ready for it, quietly waiting.  The last thing I wanted to do these past six months after spending 12 hours on campus was to then write on this blog at 10:00PM, right before I'm on the verge of passing out on my tempur-pedic mattress topper, and unfortunately, right before I have started any homework.

I'm taking steps towards embracing the idea of balance, and for once as I prepare for yet another school year (can you believe that I'm halfway done?!) at school, I can say with the utmost confidence that I feel like I have a modicum of control over my life.... Emphasis on modicum.  


Just because I haven't been blogging though doesn't mean I haven't been cooking...  In fact, you could say that based off of all of the pies, eclairs, dumplings, thai food, chowder, and other miscellaneous meals my modest apartment kitchen has been whipping out that being away from home has made me want to cook even more.  Having to painstakingly blog and write about those meals would have taken away from the magical epiphanies that happen when I'm in the kitchen, regardless of whether I am at college or at home.

One of these food revelations was the first time I watched and then made Anne Burrell's Bolognese sauce...  It wasn't so much the fact that I was instantly enamored by her stories, and how she recounted her adventure in learning how to make the dish in Italy dispersed amongst her primordial grunts about how much brown food tastes good (which it does, of course).  What made the dish so valuable to me was that after 5-6 hours I was left with a luxuriant, rich, and savory sauce, that didn't taste good just because it tasted good, but because it represented all of the time spent in my favorite place.... the kitchen. 

But on a college time budget, along with the difficult in procuring a decent bottle of red wine (only 2 months left until legal drinking age), I've resorted to a sort of dumb downed, but still very delicious version of a cherished culinary memory.  Ground turkey to keep it lighter (and most importantly because it's actually a few bucks cheaper then beef at where I shop), and a shortened simmering time using either water or beef stock.  After 40 minutes at the most, I'm somehow left with a a well balanced, relatively healthful meal for the week, especially when tossed with strands of nutty whole wheat spaghetti. 


Sure, it's half as much as what the original recipe is supposed to be, but in a fraction of the time I'm reminded of the pleasures of the all day affair that is tending to a pot of bolognese sauce.  It also helps that I'm left with a preposterous amount of food that the knuckleheads in charge of campus dining can only dream of producing.

One Year Ago: Macaroni and Cheese with Waffle Breadcrumbs
Two Years Ago: Green Tea Passionfruit Macarons

Fast Turkey Bolognese

SERVES AROUND 6
 roughly inspired by Anne Burrell

3-4 carrots
1 medium onion
3 stalks of celery
olive oil
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
~12 oz. tomato paste
1-2 bay leaves
chicken broth, water, or wine.
whole wheat spaghetti
parmesan cheese

Heat a large amount of olive oil in a large saute pan or stock pot on high heat.  Mince the vegetables finely in the food processor (or by hand), add them to the pan, and season liberally with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are well browned.  Add the ground turkey and repeat the same procedure- season liberally, and cook until very well browned.  Stir in the tomato paste, and continue to brown for 5-10 minutes.  Add whatever liquid you are using along with the bay leaves, and let simmer on medium heat for a half an hour with the lid off.

Meanwhile, boil the spaghetti until it is under al dente.  Drain, reserving some of the pasta water.  Add the pasta, and pasta water to the finished sauce.  Toss vigorously with a drizzle of olive oil and parmesan cheese until the pasta has finished cooking.  If you would like, finish the dish with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. 


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