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Nov 28, 2010 10:12 AM

Modified Hazan's Bolognese - Was this heresy?

At the end of the day I have 13 1 pint jars of MH Bolognese in the basement so I am pleased as punch. But to get to this point I decided to modify a few items in what I consider the best homemade bolognese.

I started with a 106oz can of san marzanos from costco, so i needed to change all of the quantities. I diced a baseball sized onion and then did the math and it wanted 18T of both butter and OO. That struck me as a ton of butter / oil, so i reduced the butter to 1 stick (8T) and did likewise to the OO. So far it looked like the right choice. 3 stalks of diced celery and 3 large carrots diced, still looking good. added 6# of chuck, roger; then the wine, which I reduced the amount to one bottle; kept the correct milk, nutmeg and the tomatoes which i used my immersion blender before adding to the pot. a few hours later, a big freakin' pot of heavenly goodness. a couple of hours later, the canning was completed, tops marked and cooled.

thoughts on changes from all you other MH bolognese lovers? Am I destined to eat the MH canelloni with the devil?

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  1. If it tastes good, who cares about authenticity? I belong to the 'What if...' School of Cooking specializing in 'Cuisine Impromptu. Recipes are just guidelines. I have over 200 cookbooks only because I like to read them. Have I ever religiously followed a recipe out any one of them...NO!

    My personal culinary motto is 'Cook like a peasant...Dine like a gourmet.'

    Buon appetito e mangia bene!

    1 Reply
    1. re: ChiliDude

      ChiliDude, you & i are kindred kitchen souls, and i couldn't have said it better myself!

    2. Though I first heard of Bolognese in Marcella's first book, over the years, I have almost never followed her proportions. I use more meat, carrots, and celery. It bugs me to buy that much celery and carrots only to use such a little bit, so I use more than she calls for, and also make a stew at the same time in another pot. And I'll eat celery raw with a dip.

      I use only as much oil as looks necessary in a 7.25 qt. Le Creuset, and I use pork in addition to beef, so that provides a lot of extra melted fat. I use cream instead of milk, maybe more than what's called for. I only use wine sometimes (I like the flavor, but I don't drink).

      So I'm not going to judge you, jfood. All I think you need to worry about is HOW DOES IT TASTE?

      As an aside, I'm terrified of home-canned anything, due to a bout of food poisoning after eating a jar of homemade piccalilli, so I freeze any extra, or give some to my best friend, who loves my Bolognese so well, he will sometimes buy the ingredients in hopes that I'll make some.

      1. Definitely "canelloni with the devil." But some of us may be heading in that direction anyway so we at least know we'll eat well. Speaking of, how did it taste? I've made quadruple or quintuple (can't remember) batches and didn't change the ratios. (Probably cause you threatened me with damnation) My first batch I got CH advice to take it to about the consistency of (non-NJ) Sloppy Joes and I did. So much drier than I would have originally thought. Sounds like yours would have been great. I'm so impressed that you do canning now.

        1 Reply
        1. re: c oliver

          i now do pressure canning as the bolognese would not reach the proper temperature in a water bath canner. 13 bottles of goodness in the basement (well 10 since i ate one and little jfood took 2 home yesterday).

        2. Not heresy in my book. Marcella's bolognese is fabulous but I regularly make minor changes when cooking up a batch such as extra carrots, celery and onion. Sometimes a bit of pancetta and always a mix of beef, pork and veal.
          And when I make Marcella's sauce again I intend to add a couple of anchovies.

          Now this may be heresy but I'm considering trying this recipe for my next bolognese http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...
          The photo is drool-worthy.

          3 Replies
          1. re: EM23

            I'm not a purist, but the tagliatelle recipe has too many ingredients. Let us know how it turns out.

            S'invio cordialissimi saluti e buona fortuna.

            1. re: EM23

              I made Barbara Lynch's Bolognese this year. While I think I'll adopt her meat-to-tomato ratio permanently, I did not like the taste or the texture of chicken livers.

              Have you bought her book, STIR? The entire thing is drool-worthy.

              1. re: Jay F

                Thanks for the heads up about the chicken livers.
                Just looked at her book on Amazon and you are right about the photos, slurp...

            2. All I can say is that you only need enough butter to sweat the miripoix (the onion, carrot, celery combo) & that isn't a lot & enough OO to brown the chuck nicely.
              Enough wine so that you get the right degree of moisture & that's it.

              Never be too hung up on exact quantities except for pastries & cakes & even then it depends.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Yank

                Ah, but ya see, jfood is talking about a dish that is dang near perfect so tinkering with it is dicey. But the dog has taught him a lot and I trust him.

                1. re: Yank

                  I think the oil and butter amount shouls at least do as you suggest and maybe add flavor from the butter.

                  I would disagree with the wine comment for moisture since you cook until the liquid evaporates. It is there for the acidic and flavor effect. Likewise when you add the milk you evaporate that completely and that is there to add a fatty overlay to the beef so the tomatoes do not do damage to the meat in the long cooking process.

                  1. re: Yank

                    And browning the meat is definately cause for damnation according to Marcella. I myself have been reluctant to alter the proportions, though I can imagine that it could be just as good with less butter and oil.