Making Better Bolognese

Too Saucy For Your Own Good

This episode of “Making Better…” is brought to you by inspiration incarnate, the lovely and talented Isabella Mannone of La Fontanella in Phoenix.  If you are in Arizona and want a taste of majesty, you absolutely, positively need to pop into her place.  I have the sweetest of dreams about her artichokes braised in garlicky olive oil and get sad when I’m in town and they aren’t in season.  Makes me just miss them more.

Isabella did an assessment of my bolognese recipe and had the following to say.  Listen up, kids!

“Of course I checked your Bolognese sauce – it is pretty close to an Emilia Romagna ingredient list, except for the omission of roasted chicken livers and no oregano is used.  [You use] sage and rosemary on the meat.  Most Americans would not want to include livers, so substitute instant coffee for that same depth of flavor and it reduces the sweetness of the tomatoes. The Tuscans and and Emilians do not like anything sweet in their main courses, except for dessert, and that’s not very sweet, usually.”

So I hope you are taking notes – for a truly Roman-inspired experience:

  • Leave out the oregano and add a tablespoon each of fresh, chopped rosemary and sage when you add the veggies to the meat.
  • Add roasted chicken livers (diced? mashed?) to the meat mixture
  • Before baking, include a teaspoon of good, instant coffee (an oxymoron, I know) to the sauce
  • And a tip from me on desweetening the tomatoes and enriching your sauce – finish the sauce by stirring in a tablespoon of butter