Sunday, July 26, 2009
Solar Oven Bolognese Sauce Part One
The best bolognese sauce I've ever made was about 25 years ago. I was visiting my mother in Germany and we were invited to a potluck. I decided to bring lasagna. Ever since then I have been trying, with various degrees of success, to recreate it. I don't know if it was the beef or the fact that after letting the sauce simmer all afternoon I forgot to turn it off before we went out for dinner. I knew my mother would worry about the house burning down so I didn't mention it and the sauce continued to simmer for a least another two hours. Everyone at the party raved about the lasagna. I was disappointed that I had wasted such an accomplishment on a bunch of people I didn't even know. And to top things off they all thought my mother had made it!
Today's solar cooked sauce is yet another attempt to recapture that flavor. Back then I did not use a recipe but now I pretty much follow my trusted Marcella Hazan. I use a leaner beef although I have no idea what the fat percentage was of the German beef. I remember only that my mother commented on how fatty it was. I was also much leaner, weighing in at barely 100lb.
To be honest this was not entirely made in the solar oven. I assembled it inside on the stove and moved it to the solar oven to finish cooking. I debated over whether to cover the pot or not. Normally a good bolognese sauce is left to simmer for at least three hours, uncovered, at a very low heat. I started out with the pot uncovered but it seemed to be drying out too quickly so I placed the lid on leaving it slightly ajar.
The sauce seems to have come out pretty well. I'm going to be using it to make some kind of baked pasta dish later in the week so I've only tasted a spoonful of it. It's hard to tell if it's as good as the German sauce because it needs to be combined with pasta for the real magic to happen.