Zucchini ribbons are made by using the slicer blade on the Spiralizer. My primary reason for using zucchini as a base was to cut the carb factor in this rich dish. I also cooked some more traditional fettuccine, thinking that I could combine the two. The zucchini ribbons added to the dish. They provided a slight crunch and lightened the heaviness of the sauce.
As for the Bolognese, all I can say is make it! This is what the Food 52 site refers to as a “genius recipe,” and it really is just that. They adapted it from Nigel Slater’s recipe in The Kitchen Diaries. You might want to check out the original recipe since I adapted it a even more, but the pancetta and portobello mushrooms that elevate the dish remain firmly in place.
4 TBS butter
3 oz. pancetta, cubed
1 medium onion, small dice
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 carrot, small dice
2 stalks of celery, small dice
6 oz. portobello mushrooms, small dice
2 bay leaves
1 pound ground beef
1 (15 oz.) can whole tomatoes, crushed
1/4 cup red wine
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/2 to 3/4 cup half and half
Parmesan cheese for serving
1 large zucchini, spiralized with the slicer blade
1/2 pound fettucinne
1. My first caveat comes here. I went to our local Italian market to get a 3 oz. piece of pancetta. He couldn’t cut it that small, so my piece was a little more than double that size. I cut back on the butter to about 2 tablespoons, to compensate.
Melt the butter in a heavy bottom pot (Le Creuset). Add the cubed pancetta and cook gently for about five minutes. You don’t want it to get crisp.
2. Add the chopped onion and garlic to the pancetta/butter. Stir to combine and cook for a couple of minutes.
3. Add the chopped carrots and celery. Stir and let cook for another minute or two.
4. Add the diced portobello mushrooms and the bay leaves. Cook for about ten minutes over medium heat. Stir often to combine ingredients and prevent sticking.
5. Add the ground beef. Break it up well and let brown.
6. Add the crushed tomatoes, wine and stock. Season with a little salt and freshly ground pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to very low. Partially cover the pot and let simmer gently for about an hour and a half. Stir occasionally. Very gentle cooking encourages the flavors to meld together.
7. Slowly add the half and half, a little bit at a time. A half cup may be enough, but the full three quarter cup works well too. Continue to cook gently for another twenty minutes to a half hour.
8. Serve over zucchini ribbons, fettucinne, or a combination of the two. Garnish with Parmesan cheese.
Note: I made the sauce to the point just before the addition of the half and half. I let it cool and refrigerated it over night. The next day, I added the half and half and cooked it for a final half hour before dinner.