Monday 6 February 2012

Orecchiette Bolognese with Celery & Parmesan Salad

This pasta is so good, I promise you that you will never want to buy a store bought red sauce ever again.  Such a great pasta for a cold night and the fresh basil and oregano make it so special.  The celery salad is a real surprise.  This recipe is one of Ina Gartens, and she once again didn't disappoint.  It is really light and we thought it went perfectly with this pasta.  The dressing is very flavorful and you can't go wrong with fresh Parmesan.  Enjoy!

Orecchiette Bolognese

  • 2 Tbl. olive oil
  • 1 lb. lean ground sirloin
  • 5 tspns. minced garlic
  • 1 Tbl. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tspn. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/4 cups dry red wine
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes (good brand such as San Marzano)
  • 2 Tbl. tomato paste
  • kosher salt and pepper
  • 3/4 lb. orecchiette pasta or small shells
  • 1/4 tspn. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
-Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the ground sirloin and cook, crumbling with a wooden spoon for 5-7 minutes until the meat starts to brown.  Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute.  Pour 1 cup of wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits.  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, a little less than 1 Tbl. salt, and 1 1/2 tspns. pepper, stirring until combined.  Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 Tbl. salt to the water and a splash of olive oil, and the pasta.  Cook according to the instructions on the box.  While the pasta cooks, finish the sauce.  Add the nutmeg, basil, cream, and the remaining 1/4 cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens.  When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into a large serving bowl.  Add the sauce and 1/2 cup Parmesan and toss well.  Serve hot with Parmesan on the side.

Celery & Parmesan Salad
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tspns. grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup, plus 1 Tbl. freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
  • 2 Tbl. minced shallots
  • 1 tspn. celery seed
  • 1/2 tspn. celery salt
  • 1/2 tspn. anchovy paste
  • kosher salt and ground pepper
  • 5 cups thinly sliced celery hearts, tender leaves included, sliced on an angle (about 12 stalks)
  • 4 oz. chunk aged Parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • Whole flat leaf parsley leaves
-At least 1 hour before you plan to serve the salad, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, the shallots, celery seed, celery salt, anchovy paste, 2 tspns. salt, and 1 tspn. pepper.  Place the celery in a mixing bowl and toss it with the remaining 1 Tbl. of lemon juice and 1/2 tspn. salt.  (Make sure you do these 2 steps separately, they are all part of the salad but it does make a difference)  Add enough dressing to moisten well.  Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the celery to crisp and the flavors to develop.  When ready to serve, arrange the celery on a platter, shave the Parmesan onto the celery with a vegetable peeler, then sprinkle the walnuts, parsley leaves, salt and pepper and serve immediately.  Enjoy! 
**To toast the walnuts, place them in a small dry saute pan and cook over low heat for 5-10 minutes, tossing often, until browned.


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