Skip to content

Month: November 2006

Ragu Bolognese

4 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 cup carrot, finely diced
1/2 cup celery, finely diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1.5 pounds lean ground beef
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 cup milk (whole milk is best)
1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly ground
28 ounces Italian plum tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 Tbsp tomato paste
salt, to taste
4-6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped (or 1 tsp dried parsley)
1 tsp dried oregano
Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

In a large, deep, heavy pan heat the olive oil and butter over medium-low. Add the onions and saute briefly. Add the carrot, celery, and garlic. Cook over low heat until the vegetables are soft and barely begin to color.

Crumble the meat into the pan. Lightly season the meat with salt. Cook and stir the ingredients until the meat loses its raw red color. Add the wine.

Turn the heat up to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally until all the wine had evaporated. Reduce the heat to medium and add the milk and nutmeg. Continue cooking and stirring until the milk has evaporated. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato sauce when the milk has evaporated and stir thoroughly.

Set the heat to low and allow the ragu to cook uncovered for 2-4 hours, stirring occasionally. Add basil, oregano, and parsley the last 10 minutes of cooking. Check seasoning and salt to taste.

Serve over tagliatelle or rigatoni pasta, topped with grated Parmigiano Reggiano and basil chiffonade.

White Chocolate Cheesecake with Cranberry Sauce

For the crust:
9 ounces vanilla wafers, crushed
1/2 cup butter, melted
For the filling:
16 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped
32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cream
2 Tbsp vanilla
For the sauce:
12 ounces fresh cranberries
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cranberry cocktail juice
1/4 cup water

Make the crust:
Position rack in center of oven, preheat to 325 °F. Butter 10-inch spring-form pan, wrap the outside of pan with foil. Finely grind cookies in a processor, add melted butter, process again until crumbs are moist.
Press crumbs onto bottom, and 2 inches up sides of pan. Bake crust until set, about 12-15 minutes.

Make the filling:
Stir white chocolate in top of double boiler set over barely simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Cool to lukewarm, continuously stirring. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Gradually add sugar, then salt; beat until smooth. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add sour cream, whipping cream, and vanilla; beat until well blended. Gradually add melted white chocolate, beating until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into crust. Bake until center still moves slightly when pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour and 20 minutes. Open oven door slightly; turn off oven. Leave cake in oven for 30 minutes. Chill cake uncovered overnight.

Meanwhile, make the cranberry sauce:
Stir all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Increase heat; boil 3 minutes. Press mixture through a sieve set over large bowl, pressing firmly on solids. Set aside.

Run small knife between pan sides and cake before releasing the springform. Spread cranberry sauce over top of cake. Cut into wedges and serve.