Spaghetti alla Bolognese

Jun 21 2010 Published by under Food

Spaghetti alla Bolognese could be quite simply Italy’s best know pasta dish. What is interesting about this is that this dish does not exist in Italy, since it is an American creation. In Bologna, you will find that they serve Ragu alla Bolognese, which resembles the meat sauce, but they will never serve over spaghetti. They will only serve it tagliatelle, which is a thicker pasta that is simillar to fetuccine.

Spaghetti alla Bolognese

Spaghetti alla Bolognese

As with the Americanization of many other favorite foods, this is a recipe that I have enjoyed since I was young. For me it doesn’t matter if they do not serve it in Italy, and even if the original idea has been changed around it still makes for a wonderful dish. I usually do not like to take shortcuts in my recipes, but for this one I will make an exception. I will use ready made spaghetti sauce. Since we are already breaking with the Bolognese tradition, lets Americanize this with full force. It also saves like 3 to 4 hours in making a real ragu. So in keeping with a new tradition, please enjoy my recipe for Spaghetti alla Bolognese.

For Spaghetti alla Bolognese

8 Ounces of Spaghetti pasta
1/2 Pound of Ground Beef
1 Cup of Spaghetti Sauce (Ragu brand is the one I use)
1/2 Cup Diced Onion
1/2 Teaspoon Oregano
1/2 Teaspoon Marjoram
1/4 Teaspoon of Black Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese

In a large stock pot, add 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the pasta an cook for 10 minutes. Drain the pasta n a colander. While the pasta was cooking, add the olive oil to a 12 inch frying pan and set to medium heat. Dice the onion in a 1/4 inch dice. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook for 1 minute. Add the ground beef and cook until the meat is brown, and the onions are semi transparent. Add the oregano, marjoram, salt, and black pepper and let it cook for 30 seconds and longer and you will burn the spices. Add the spaghetti sauces and about 1/4 cup of water. Cook until the sauce reduces a little. Serve the pasta in the plates, and top with the cooked spaghetti sauce. Garnish with as much grated parmesan as you like. Optional – Some people like to salt the water in which the pasta cooks, since it gives a better flavor and reduces the time water requires to boil. If you want to salt the water add 2 Tablespoons of salt to the stock pot water before adding the pasta to cook.

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Mini Pizzas

May 24 2010 Published by under Food

Sometimes you want a pizza fast. Sometimes you just want a single serving of pizza. Sometimes everyone wants a different flavor of pizza. My mini pizzas solve all of these problems. I have tried all types of pizzas dough, both made from scratch and store bought, and nothing tastes better than this. It is a crunchy thin crust that you can enjoy with your favorite toppings. My kid approves of his cheese only mini pizzas, and even prefers them to any delivery pizzas. The best part is that you can have a pizza in about 7 minutes.

Peperoni pizza, Cheese pizzas, Hawaiian Pizza, Pepperoni Mushroom Pizza

Mini Pizzas

When I was developing the recipe I wanted something that came out really fast. The fastest way to cook anything in your kitchen is using the microwave. The problem with using the microwave to cook pizzas is that you get a soggy result. The better way to get a crunchy pizza is to use the oven. This takes time, 15 to 20 minutes at least plus some time to preheat. After some trial and error I discovered that the best method was to combine both techniques to achieve both speed and crunch. I use thin pita bread for the pizza crust. When buying the pita bread make sure you get the thin one, and not the thicker type. You can vary the cooking times in order to get a softer or crispier pizza.

For a Mini Pizza:

1 Pita Bread
2 Tablespoons Spaghetti Sauce
1/4 Cup Mozzarella Cheese
1 Dash Herb of Provence (optional)

Place pita bread flat on a board. Add the spaghetti sauce. Distribute sauce all over the pitta bread with a spoon, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge. Add the cheese over all the spaghetti sauce. Add the toppings.  Make sure you do not add a lot of toppings or they will not cook well. You should be able to see some of the cheese.Put a dash of Herbs of Provence all over the pizza to give better flavor. Cook in the microwave for 2 minutes or until the cheese starts to melt. Cook in the toaster oven on 425 F for 5 minutes, or toast on high about two or three times. When you see the pita starting to brown, your pizza is done. Slice with a pizza cutter. *** The cooking times are for my microwave, and toaster oven. You might need to experiment on yours to see what is the appropriate time on your own equipment. The microwave time also varies when making more than one at a time. Basically microwave untilthe cheese melts. Bake or toast it until the crust browns.

Topping Suggestions:
Pepperoni Cheese
Cheese Only
Pepperoni Mushroom
Pineapple Ham (Hawaiian Pizza)
Bell Pepper, Olives, Tomatoes, Onion (Veggie Pizza)
Cooked Bacon, Ham, Pepperoni (All Meat Pizza)
Cheese Basil Tomatoes (Margarita Pizza)

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