Saturday, April 23, 2016

Tre Colore Capsicum Bolognese con Radiatore

I had the great honor and pleasure of creating a recipe using the incredibly delightful pasta made by my friend, Chef Jeff Gardner, the Pasta Gardner, in Eugene, Oregon.  Chef Jeff sent me his red wheat radiatore and upon looking at the pasta, I realized a hearty, beefy pepper sauce would work exceptionally well with the pasta.  The radiatore would easily catch the beefy pepper sauce and cheese and the pasta would absorb the loose pasta sauce and maximize the flavors.  Pefect match!

Rather than create a traditional beef bolognese, I traded the mire poix of a traditional bolongnese for red, yellow and orange peppers. Let's get to it, shall we?  

Three Pepper Bolognese Sauce
1.5 pounds 80/20 or 90/10 ground beef
1 red, yellow and red bell peppers, ribbed and seeded and coarsely chopped
1 large red or yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
six fresh basil leaves, chiffonade and halved
2 sprigs fresh oregano, and halved
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons dried Italian herb seasonings
1/3 cup shaved parmesan
1 lemon, zest and juice
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 bag, or, one pound Pasta Gardner Red Wheat Radiatore Pasta
1 14.5-ounce can Italian style tomatoes, chef's cut
1 28-ounce can tomato puree (I use Cento, my favorite)
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

In a large sauce pot, add three rounds or three tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef, crumble and "brown", as my mom would say, meaning, get a good caramelization on the ground beef. Just as the last red of the beef is "browning", add the onion and garlic, a little salt and pepper, and stir thoroughly to incorporate, about four minutes.  Next, add the red wine vinegar to deglaze the pot and, using a wooden spoon, scrape up the burnt beef bits on the bottom of the pot; those little bits of burnt beef are flavor!  Next, add the three peppers and stir in well.  Add half of the seasonings and incorporate well. 

After four or so minutes, add the canned tomato products, the remaining seasonings and incorporate very well. Also, add the zest and juice of the lemon and half a cup of water.  Bring the mixture to a boil and then partially cover and reduce the heat to low.  Allow the sauce to simmer for at least and hour. 

About fifteen minutes prior to the sauce being done, although the longer it simmers, the better it will become, bring six quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Once the water is at a roiling boil, add a generous amount of salt to the water and stir. This is the only chance you will get to season the pasta!  Boil the pasta about twelve to fourteen minutes.  Test at about twelve minutes.  When it is just al dente, strain all but a cup of reserved starchy pasta water and toss the pasta in the sauce with a little of the pasta water, or, set it aside and top the pasta with the sauce. Growing up, however, my neighbor's Italian mother said that the pasta must always be tossed with the sauce, not the sauce placed atop the pasta.  While I have a tendency to remember what Nonna said, I say do what you enjoy.  My mom always topped the pasta with the sauce, which is how my dad liked it. In this case, and per my preference, I toss the pasta with the sauce and some of the fresh herbs. 

I like to top my pasta with shaved parmesan and some fresh herbs. 

I hope you have enjoyed this recipe.  I certainly loved making it and also sharing it with one of my dear friend's family.  
Now, go cook something for someone you love!
Buon Appetito!