Cream cheese bolognese for pasta

Just can't believe it - I haven't posted a pasta recipe to date and strangely enough, pasta is one of the things I cook quite often.

A good bolognese sauce is just what any pasta needs. Over the years, various ingredients have gone into the basic ragu that I make in an attempt to increase the flavour. Let's face it - the meat and the tomatoes that are locally available are not exactly top quality but bolognese is a particularly forgiving sauce. Beef or a mix of beef and pork would be my meat of choice but more often than not, I find myself using chicken. While chicken ragu is quite flavourful, I never quite get the colour that a good ragu commands. Ah well...

It takes a good hour to cook a bolognese and there are no shortcuts. At the end of the cooking time, what you get is a thick sauce and tender meat that's so full of flavour. I know chicken liver is a strange ingredient but believe me, once the ragu is done, no one will know there's such a thing in it - not if you tell, at any rate. It adds a different dimension to the sauce, more depth. As for the cream cheese, what it does is to take the edge off the acidity of the tomatoes and infuses a certain tangy mellowness to the dish.

This sauce is good with any kind of pasta. When you're done doling the sauce over the pasta, don't forget to sprinkle Parmesan cheese over too. After all, can there ever be too much cheese?

Here goes my recipe:

Cream cheese bolognese

4 tbsp oil
50 gm bacon, diced
2 onions, finely diced
8 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
2 stalks celery, chopped fine
1 large carrot, grated
1 bay leaf
1 tsp mixed dried herbs
500 gm minced meat
2 chicken livers, cleaned and minced
1/2 cup red or white wine or sherry
200 gm blanched and pureed tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato paste
6 stalks parsley, remove stems and chop fine
1 cup milk
1 cup stock
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp sugar
50 gm cream cheese

Heat oil in a large pot, saute bacon till crisp, remove.
Tip the diced onion, garlic, celery, carrot and bay leaf into the pan, saute till soft.
Add in the minced meat and chopped liver, fry till the juices dry up and the meat is browned.
Add in the bacon, mixed dried herbs, wine or sherry, tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, milk, stock salt and pepper.
When it comes to the boil, turn down the heat, cover the pot with a lid and allow the sauce to simmer for an hour, stirring the pot every 15 minutes or so.
Switch off the flame, stir in the sugar and the cream cheese.
Serve over a bed of pasta.


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