Ragù Bolognese

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 2 hours 50 min
Total time: 3 hours
Yield: 6/8 servings

 Ingredients
  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 lb Ground Pork
  • 3.5 oz Shallots
  • 3.5 oz Celery
  • 3.5 oz Carrots
  • 10 oz Tomato Puree
  • 1/2 Bottle Red Wine
  • 1 Spoon Olive Oil
  • Salt
This is one of the most famous Italian Sauces. It takes a while to make because it has to cook slowly, but homemade Ragù is simply delicious. I usually make a lot of it and freeze the rest in many one-serving portions.
Instructions
  1. Prepare all your ingredients, then start by mincing all the vegetables. I use the food processor.
  2. Brown the vegetables in a frying pan adding the olive oil and a pinch of salt.
  3. Add all the meat and salt it. Break the meat down with a wooden spoon until it is well mixed with the vegetables (third picture). Cook on a slow fire until the meat no longer appears pink.
  4. When the meat is cooked and it has absorbed most of its fat, sprinkle it with the red wine. Let it cook until most of the liquids are absorbed.
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  5. Add the tomato puree, mix it in well, and let the sauce cook for at least another half a hour.
  6. Your homemade Ragù is ready. The traditional pasta pairing is with tagliatelle or fettuccine. Another popular one is spaghetti of course.
  7. You can also use Ragù to make a crostini or  bruschetta appetizer. Toast or grill the bread on both sides, add the Ragù on top and  serve immediately.
  8. I also love to serve Ragù on top of Italian Polenta, finer corn grits, trust me it is exquisite. (Final picture.)
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Ragù Bolognese by Camilla Isley September-20-2015

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Eggplant Cordon Bleu

Prep time: 10 min
Rest time: 30 min
Cook time: 20 min
Total time: 1 hour
Yield: 4 Pieces

 Ingredients
  • 8 oz Eggplant
  • 4 slices Ham
  • 4 slices Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 1/2 cup Whole Bread Crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 8-10 Cherry Tomatoes
  • 8 leaves Basil
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • 1 pinch Pepper
The original Cordon Bleu recipe is made with chicken instead of eggplants and it’s fried. This is a lighter, baked alternative. If you still want to fry it add to the ingredients enough seed oil to fill a frying pan.
Instructions
  1. Before we start preparing the Cordon Bleu, we need to prepare the eggplants. Wash them and cut them in even slices of a quarter of an inch in thickness. When you have your slices stack them in a colander and sprinkle them with salt. Leave them to rest for at least half an hour. You will see that the eggplants will start a natural process of moisture perspiration.
  2. After the 30 min have passed, dry the eggplants. I lay them on a clean kitchen towel and dab them with it. Preheat the oven at 400°F. I usually make the bread crumbs lightly toasting the bread while the oven heats up and then passing the bread in the food processor to crumble it.
  3. Dice the cherry tomatoes in thin slices.
  4. Pair your eggplant slices according to approximate diameter and lay the 4 bottom halves in a plate. Stack the slices with ham, a leaf of basil, and a slice of cheese. If your ham slice is bigger like mine, cut it in half and do a ham, basil, cheese, ham stack. Cut the excess ham and cheese that spill from the eggplant base and restack the scraps on top. Arrange the thin slices of tomato on the entire diameter. Cover with the remaining eggplant slice. Repeat for each Cordon Bleu.
  5. Prepare the ingredients for the batter. Beat the eggs in a bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper. Fill a plate with flour and one with bread crumbs. Place the flour platter, eggs bowl, and bread crumbs platter in front of you in this order.
  6. To prepare the Cordon Bleu begin by rolling the eggplant “sandwich” in the flour, then the eggs, and finally the bread crumbs.
  7. Place the Cordon Bleu on a baking pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 min at 400°F. If you want to fry them, toss the Cordon Bleu in a frying pan filled with seed oil at 350°F for 15 min turning them halfway through. Garnish the finished Cordon Bleu with a leaf or two of basil.
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Eggplant Cordon Bleu by Camilla Isley August-21-2015