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Friday, March 1, 2013

tomato + meat sauce atop spaghetti squash

Greek Bolognese

when i worked downtown i used to take the city bus to the office. i felt very cosmopolitan, me wearing my sneakers with my skirt suits, my pumps tucked into my oversized shoulder bag, ipod shuffle blaring while i waited alongside the city folk at the bus stop. let it be known, it was nothing like Sex In the City, with glamorous suits, perfectly coiffed hair and speaking loudly on the phone about statistics and sales and bears and bulls. i once tried to negotiate an hourly rate for a candidate, got mixed up, almost tripped and ended up paying the guy more than he deserved and my margin was screwed; i had to explain to my district manager what had happened, how i had wanted to be like samantha jones but ended up looking like horse face carrie bradshaw instead. thankfully he was well aware of my er... quirkiness and that was a lesson learned: don't walk & talk at the same time, you lose money and look like a jackass.

there was another time where i was put in an awkward position. i had just finished a work out (back when i actually had a gym membership!) and i was standing there, minding my own business when an old school lincoln pulled up, the passenger window rolled down and the driver leaned toward me. i honestly believed he was asking for directions, kinda sorta not really like Pretty Woman and i was/am not hooker and he was not richard gere in a Lotus Esprit. he yelled out "are you hacking?" now. mind you, i had no idea what that term meant, but i figured it couldn't be good. so the best defense is a good offense, i retorted: "DO I LOOK LIKE I AM? GET AWAY FROM ME BEFORE I CALL THE PO-PO!"

you guys. no one ever says po-po, i don't even think they used it in Boyz in the Hood. but that was what i said and tho the guy drove away, i felt uncomfortable, like i had done something completely not me and thankfully this dude didn't know it, but i still felt like a farce. (never mind that it was a kinda sorta not really dangerous situation, I WAS BEING PICKED UP ON THE STREET!)

i have been thinking a lot lately about comfort. or more importantly, being uncomfortable. to combat this niggling feeling i made a huge pot of greek bolognese, a sauce that i have been making for a number of years now, that with the simple inclusion of cinnamon, cloves and my addition of star anise reminds me of pho, always puts me at ease. we had this for dinner and lunch for 3 days straight, and we still have containers of it in the freezer for the days when i'm feeling the need for comfort.


tomato + meat sauce atop spaghetti squash
adapted from gastronomy blog

Olive oil
2 clove garlic thinly sliced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 lb ground chicken
1 lb lean ground beef
1 lb  hot Italian sausage
1 can huge diced tomatoes (muir glen's organic)
1 can  huge tomato sauce (muir glen's organic)
1 generous TBL tomato paste
4 sticks cinnamon
6-8 cloves
5  star anise pods
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1  spaghetti squash, baked and scraped
Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

In a pot cook up the meats, crumbling them until they're in small pieces, you may want to cook each meat separately. drain any excess oil and set aside the meat. in the same pot, pour in a splash of olive oil, add in the onions and garlic, saute on medium high until translucent. season with salt. then add in the meats, mix with garlic & onions. season again with salt. pour in tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. add in the cloves, cinnamon, & star anise, stir in the tomato paste. allow to simmer, with lid slightly on.

simmer for an hour or two, until sauce is thickened, stirring every so often. at this point, you can serve this with any kind of pasta, or, you can continually add water/stock/red wine and allow to reduce, only to do it all over again. i did this for about 4 hours. cool completely, lid and fridge.

next day, heat up gently and if you need to add some liquid and allow to reduce to desired thickness/consistency.

for the spaghetti squash, simply cut in half, put in oven at 350 for 45 minutes, face down on cookie sheet. when done, using a fork scrape out the stringy flesh. if you want, season with olive oil & salt & chopped parsley.

to serve, on plate or bowl, add in the spaghetti squash or pasta, top with sauce, garnish with chopped parsley and then grated parm. BOOM.

Greek Bolognese

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