Wednesday, April 21

Birthday Bolognese

The Young Tongue turned ONE today!

I have fond memories of my birthdays as a child since I always celebrated it with my twin sister (I always blew the cake 5 minutes ahead of her and got a kick out of this -- even if we have several cakes to blow -- and even if we're already in our thirties). We always ended up having pool parties at home or by the beach with our cousins over my Aunt's delicious spread of food. My mamaninang (Aunt) always cooked for the family gatherings and her dishes were always to die for, modesty aside. Our birthdays were perpetually associated with her moist chocolate cake, blue-violet lips and nails (from staying in the water for too long), and spending the entire day (and night) with family.

I contemplated on baking a cake for her but the daunting thought of having to look for my baking tins out of our "moving" boxes scared me (it's a shame really, but you should see the state of where half our belongings are in -- still in boxes as we await for the completion of our closets). My twin sister slept over last night so naturally, she was the first relative to greet her a happy birthday (through several nursery rhymes, dances, and stories). My parents and my nieces came over and we sort of replicated the birthday parties we knew best so that The Young Tongue wouldn't be alone on her special day! And the menus from my past were relived.

I did a simple barby of chicken, pork, and sausages served with some Asian greens on sesame dressing. I also cooked some Bolognese and my parents brought the chocolate cake. I will share our heirloom Chocolate Cake recipe (but I need to ask my Mamaninang first since I have always been conditioned to think that this one recipe is just for family). In the meantime, let me share the pasta we dearly loved as kids.

I've done some modifications on our family's recipe since my last visit to Italy where one of my closest Italian friends introduced me to la mamma who taught me how to do it right.

400 grams lean Ground Beef

100 grams Ground Pork
2 pieces large Onions, chopped finely

4 stalks Celery, leaves removed, chopped finely

1 large Carrot, chopped finely

2 pieces Garlic, crushed

A glass of red wine

2 cans Plum Tomatoes

1 piece Bay Leaf

Mace, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Clove, to taste

Salt and Pepper, to taste

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

A box of Pasta

Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

1. In a hot pan with olive oil, saute the carrots, celery, and onion. Once translucent, add the garlic.

2. Add the ground beef and ground pork into the pan and cook until the meat is not pink in color and no traces of blood can be found.

3. Deglaze the pan with the red wine and allow to reduce by 70%.

4. Add the plum tomatoes and bring to a boil. Once boiling, bring it to a simmer.

5. Add the bay leaf, mace, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and clove. Allow the meat to soften. This will take from an hour and a half to two hours under gentle heat.

6. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

7. Cook pasta al dente.

8. Serve with freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano.