Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sugo di Carne

Oh baby, pat that rump. Rub that salt and pepper into that tender roast.
Sounds so seductive, so ooh la la like. But eugh yuk, I hate that part.
And I would do it all over again, tossing my groans and shrieks frivolously out to the nonexistent members of my pity party.

Have I told you about Culinate before? It's a great site, culinate.com, that comes to us from Portland. I haven't even begun to explore all the nooks and crannies of their pages. But they have many attainable recipes out there, all free and accessible to all us free people! I usually prefer to dream my meals from under my feather comforter, eventually taking to the kitchen in a flurry, whipping out all the things that need to be used; things I am down-right irritated with, sick of, or items about to go bad. Other times, though, there's nothing better than perusing blogs and sites like culinate that allow me to find inspiration for particular dishes, developing a list of ingredients that I can shop for on my way home from work. Yesterday before leaving work I found five recipes that I wanted to make and eat straight away. I finally narrowed the options to two. We ate at 11pm. Of course the two recipes I chose took 2 & 4 hours to make.

Let's start with the recipe we actually did eat for dinner last night, and one that I will duplicate with some variation for the rest of my life. It was seductive, rich, so flavorful, and beautiful. The flavor is amazing, the ingredients are few. It's quite simple and worth the wait. A normal person, though, would make this on a weekend, so that the hour of eating is reasonable and kind to your stomach.

The recipe calls for a 2 pound rump roast, cooking it in a wine, espresso, tomato based medley, at the astronomical temperature of 475 degrees for 3-4 hours. We used a 2 1/2 pound roast, so unfortunately the entire roast wasn't submerged in braise. I think it would have been substantially more fork tender had we been able to cover the roast in liquid. Keep in mind that the liquid reduces as it cooks. I also prefer my pasta to be saucier than meatier, so we actually didn't even use half of the meat in our sauce. Josh is more than okay with that- more meat to snack on throughout the week.

So here's the recipe:

Sugo di Carne

Total Time 4½ hours

2 to 3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 lb. beef bottom round
~ Salt and pepper
2 medium red onions, chopped
1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, chopped
1 bottle (3 cups) red wine
6 oz. brewed espresso
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1½ lb. penne pasta
~ Parmesan cheese

1. In a large, heavy-bottomed, ovenproof pot, heat the olive oil. Season the beef with salt and pepper, transfer it to the pot, and cook over medium-high heat until browned on both sides.

2. Add the red onions and cook 8 to 10 minutes or until softened. Add the remaining ingredients (except the pasta and Parmesan), cover, and cook in a 475-degree oven for 3 to 4 hours, checking the meat after 2 hours and replenishing the liquid if necessary (use water or broth). Continue cooking, covered, until the meat is fork-tender.

3. Remove the beef from the pan. When cool enough to handle, shred the meat and return to the sauce to reheat. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and toss with the meat sauce. Serve warm with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

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