Last night I made Physioprof's Fusilli bolognese

Mar 21 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Our dear friend Physioprof has been cooking up a storm lately, and the resulting displays of culinary prowess have been both impressive and--I'll just go ahead and say it--inspirational.

Last night I decided to try his recipe for Fusilli Bolognese, which it's my understanding is Italian for "curly pasta with meat sauce." I was too lazy to go to the store to do everything exactly as PP described, so the following is my adaptation using what I already had in the house.

Here's our starting ingredients still life:

You may notice a couple of differences here. PP uses San Marzano tomatoes, which are considered by some to be the best canned tomatoes out there. But they're like 3 times as expensive as pretty much every other brand, so I just used my plebian canned tomatoes from the pantry. Additionally, while PP prefers ground baby cows veal*, I used ground beef, because again that's what I already had. Finally, while PP's calls for a full-bodied white wine, I used a Tempranillo--it was either that or a bottle of rosé someone brought to a party in like 2007.

I cooked up the mirepoix just like PP advised, adding the garlic at the end, followed by the meat. When the meat was cooked I added the wine, which made the meat kind of purple-colored, but I figured whatevs.

Then I noticed two things: 1) the meat was releasing a lot of grease, which maybe is because grown cows are fattier than baby ones? I consulted J as to whether I should strain out the grease and he was totes like "leave it in," so I did; 2) There was still A LOT of wine left in the bottle! I poured myself a glass to enjoy as I continued to prepare the feast.

After the wine reduced down, PP's next step was to add some whole milk. Now, I didn't have any whole milk, but I did have skim milk and heavy cream, which I feel like together is basically whole milk. In they went! Once that had reduced, I added my dollar-store crushed tomatoes, sprinkled in a little crushed red pepper flakes, and set the burner to low.

Then came the worst part--simmering for THREE HOURS! My apartment smelled so good I thought I would die, so I kept myself busy by roasting some asparagus and making a nice caesar salad from scratch.

Fun fact: as you probably know, traditional Caesar dressing is made with a raw egg yolk, and I am here to tell you that you need not be afraid! I learned from an intermediate bartending class at Astor Center that salmonella lives on the outside of the shell, and since almost any egg you buy in a supermarket has been washed (plus the fact that there is minimal contact between the egg inside and its outer shell), your chances of getting salmonella from eating a raw egg are something like 1 in 10,000. If you really want salmonella, your best bet is to go to a farm, take an egg right from a chicken, and lick the outside.

When the sauce was about half an hour out, I boiled some water and cooked my fusilli. From here on I followed PP's directions to a T, because I am not one to question when someone tells me to put butter and cheese on my food. I plated it up with the asparagus, poured another glass of wine, and ate that shitte.

*Only jk about being judgy here. I freaking love veal, just don't keep it in the house, as they say.

13 responses so far

  • That's a damn fine looking meal. I'm thinking we should put out a Scientopia cookbook.

  • drugmonkey says:

    More liberal elite, upper crust pretentious recipes designed to exclude honest hardworking Real Americans. Typical.

  • expat group leader says:

    A few quick things ....

    Gotta agree with PP. The canned tomatoes make a huge difference. But why used canned in the first place ... why not fresh supplemented with nice tomato paste? Also, I've found that the cheese really matters ... don't buy the cheap Parmigiano Reggiano ... and be sure to store it correctly (wrapped in a dry towel in the veggie bin.) One last thing, I've found that a quality of most standard "minced" meat is really piss poor. I find the best quality comes from buying high quality meat from a butcher and dicing it yourself ... if done correctly (in a enameled cast iron pot or a Tajine) no extra oil is necessary.

    Also, it's nice that you use raw egg whites/yolks, they're really under appreciated. When I'm really lazy/busy, I find that I use them quite a bit in Pasta alla carbonara but most Americans freak out when I try to include them in a dish.

    Guten Appetit!

  • Chris says:

    Looks amazing... but three fucking hours? Does this freeze? Who has three fucking hours for cooking on a regular basis?

    • expat group leader says:

      My gf and I spend two hours with a meal every evening (usually 9-11p). That includes 45m-1h in the kitchen, 30-45m eating and 15m clean-up. Once you build it into the day, it's quite easy.

      It's actually quite cheap to eat really well once you have the equipment. It also makes the lunchtime discussions at work much better when everyone cooks and discusses recipes. In addition, you really tend to eat out much less. Most of us, cook at home and meet for cocktails (winter) at the biergarten (summer) instead of eating out.

      A 3h cooking time (usually followed by 2-3h eating time) is usually reserved for weekends/holidays when the family is around or a bunch a friends are coming over.

    • Dr Becca says:

      I didn't try to freeze it (ate the leftovers last night), but I imagine it would do OK. And as for the time, I only cook like this on the weekends. Weeknights it's usually just a quick salad for dinner, so on Saturday I like to indulge.

  • Yael says:

    I tried this too (leaving out the dairy because we keep kosher) but used fresh tomatoes supplemented with paste, instead of canned. Also added herbs. So good!

  • Dr. O says:

    Looks fantastic - and I always make my Caesar dressing with the raw egg. Also, we get our San Marzano tomatoes at CostCo - comes out cheaper than most of the canned tomatoes at the grocery store, especially when they have a coupon. :)

  • ginger says:

    I know I should keep my mouth shut, but I can't help myself. Unfortunately S. enterica serovar Enteritidis contaminates hen's eggs during oviposition, from both the ovary and the oviduct, irrespective of contamination after shell deposition. (I eat raw eggs, but I do so with the full knowledge I am playing microbial roulette and it definitely interferes with my fun. So I'm really sorry if, like me, you are not a thrill-seeker.)

    http://aem.asm.org/cgi/content/short/74/21/6616
    (This is just the ref that came to hand, not the original finding, but it's all grimly there in the intro.)

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