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Ruminant Bolognese

Nov 13 2015

Ruminant Bolognese

Classic Bolognese sauce is often misconstrued as a tomato sauce with meat in it. It is also often paired with spaghetti, which is combination that is unheard of in Emilia Romagna, its region of origin. The true Bolognese is a rich, meat-based sauce made with beef, veal, and pork, and only contains a small amount of tomato paste. The sauce is actually cooked in milk for a long period of time, sometimes 6 hours, which is what gives it the soft texture. Since I love goat and lamb meat, I decided to make a Ruminant Bolognese for the Spring season of Kitchen Caravan (http://www.kitchencaravan.com). Ruminants are hoofed-animals that chew on cud and have multiple stomach chambers. The word ruminate derives from Ruminants, as the act of chewing on cud for a long time is parallel to thinking about something, and turning it around in your head over and over. So my recipe for Ruminant Bolognese lists ground goat, lamb, and beef in its ingredients, along with a tad of tomato paste, and goat milk instead of regular milk. Goat milk has a delicious sweet/grassy flavor reflective of the region from where it comes from, and is a little bit lighter than whole cow's milk. The result is that this recipe is rich, rustic, and definitely reflective of the little animals' diet of early spring. We paired it with fettuccine, but you could also use lasagne or tagliatelle. However, never pair the sauce with spaghetti, as they are too thin to hold the meat sauce. You can find ground goat meat at the farmer's market in Union Square on Mondays and Wednesdays. Just ask the goat milk yogurt and cheese producers what they have. And last but not least, finish it off with grated Pecorino, versus Parmesan, for added goat.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter or goat butter
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 stalk of celery, peeled and roughly chopped
½ onion, peeled and roughly chopped
½ lb ground lamb
½ lb ground goat
½ lb ground beef
1 cup white wine
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup goat milk
1 cup grated pecorino romano
400 g dried fettuccine or tagliatelle
Salt and Pepper

Chop the vegetables in a food processor until almost a puree, but with still a bit of texture.
Heat up the oil and butter in a heavy bottomed sauce pan.
Add the vegetables and sweat until translucent. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the ground meats and stir. Cook until the meat is well cooked and browning.
Pour in the wine and simmer until the alcohol has evaporated.
Add the tomato paste (you might have to adjust the quantity according to how tomato-y you would like it to be) and the milk and bring to a simmer. Cook at a low simmer for 1 hour.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Before you drain, scoop out about 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Drain the pasta and pour back into the pot. Pour in the cooking liquid to moisten the pasta and prevent if from clumping. Add the meat sauce and toss well.
Serve with the fresh pecorino on top.