|Ragu' alla bolognese, tipicamente Italiana|
Case in point - I had a craving for "Italian spaghetti" this weekend. The kind that Italians debate in terms of recipe origin and what constitutes tipicamente lo stile. According to most Italians, the simple spaghetti with meat sauce is pasta bolognese, which supposedly originates from Bologna (a great city, by the way, and well worth a visit when you make your way to Italy). As is customary, Italians like to officiate these debates with a sanctioned version of the food, usually sponsored by a group of local artisans or the chamber of commerce; once that is done, all can go back to disagreeing as to which is official and which is better in their own versions.
Putting those debates aside, I only needed to follow four steps to fix my bolognese craving:
1) Google bolognese recipes, which led me here and here for the starting-point "sanctioned" version(s)
2) Head down to Balducci's, which is the local source for Italian imported ingredients, particularly for getting pancetta and the right sort of tagliatelle for the dish - two or the more essential ingredients to make this right, in my opinion
3) Mince the meat - flank steak is a great choice stateside as the meat for the sauce, by the way - which is painful, time-consuming, and well worth the effort
4) Make 4 hours of time to do the proper simmering, reducing, and tasting to achieve bolognese tipica - you cannot get to the flavor complexity with adhering to "slow food" principles and letting the sauce take time to mature into perfection
In the end, I was transported to my days wandering the streets of any given Italian city or village and stopping for comfort food, Italian-style. Top it off with a nice dolcetto, and I can think of no better way to spend a Sunday evening.