Last night we celebrated my father in law’s birthday. Instead of going out to eat, I decided to cook dinner for everybody. I’m always up for this task!
I kept the menu simple but of course made sure to cook some of my FIL’s favorites – pasta bolognese, fresh homemade rolls… + a special surprise dessert.
Since pasta was going to be the main star ingredient, I wanted to make sure we got the best fresh pasta we could find. Good thing we had a Groupon from Dave’s Fresh Pasta in Sommerville. It was a bit of a drive (not far but with a billion traffic lights in took forever) but the place was so cool! Dave’s offers pasta and ravioli (with the most unique fillings!) made fresh daily. They also have monthly specials for ravioli and sauces. For the pasta, you can indicate the kind you want (I chose whole wheat) and the cut (see picture for options below).
Pappardelli is my favorite pasta cut and I thought it would go perfectly with the pork bolognese dish I had in mind.
I made a full-fat dessert but decided to keep dinner “lighter” by following this recipe from Cooking Light for spaghetti with pork bolognese. It sounded quite rich already. I believe the “trick” is to use a mixture of ground pork tenderloin (very lean) and regular ground pork (fattier). The guy at the Whole Foods meat counter laughed at Adam when he asked for ground pork tenderloin, but I knew we could just grind it ourselves. We got a pound of pork tenderloin, and after 10 pulses in the food processor, it was perfect! [PS – if you do this, don’t pulse for more than 10 pulses, otherwise it will become a pork paste – not exactly the consistency desired here]. I also omitted the onions and celery (we don’t care for either) and used organic bacon instead of pancetta since we already had it in the house. The sauce took a while (not hard, just time consuming) but at the end we had a giant bowl of papardelle with pork bolognese for our (um, my) efforts. 😀
This pasta was rich with A LOT of pork.
I also made some no-knead overnight parmesan and thyme rolls (recipe from Cooking Light can be found here). The picture in the magazine just looked too good and the no-knead promise eluded me into thinking that this was going to be easy. Well, there were certainly a few problems with these guys for me. My yeast seemed dead (I tried it twice and didn’t see any bubbles but went ahead anyway), it didn’t roll very pretty so I cut the rolls in half (I think that was a good decision anyway); I didn’t let it rise for a full hour (since I wasn’t sure that the yeast was fully active, I didn’t bother waiting the entire time)… but they came out all right! 😀
I didn’t realize that the traditional bolognese is made with red meat (I knew it, it just didn’t click that this was not what I was making) but it was still pretty good. Not to-die-for amazing but quite good. Adding a pinch of nutmeg and simmering with the cinnamon stick did add nice warmth to this dish. As to the rolls – I really enjoyed the thyme, and they were a little nutty from the olive oil. A little butter went a long way on these. 😀
The pasta was quite rich so I ate only a little over half of it, but I did have this whole glass of Honey Moon Vognier. 😉
Oh, and a slice of Boston cream pie!
It’s my FIL’s favorite, and we all enjoyed it. And yes, you’re going to have to wait for more details on it until the next post.
What’s your favorite kind of cake?