This recipe came from the "Everyday with Rachael Ray" magazine...and in a word, "SCRUM-DIDDILY-UMPTIOUS"! My husband Joe said, "This not only gets two thumbs up, but I'll throw in a couple of toes, too!"
Apparently, the original recipe calls for "wild boar" (can we say, "What?!?!"), but even Rachael can't find that in her NY supermarket. So, instead, she supplements with ground pork and ground beef--and of course the "EVOO" is a must! The most expensive ingredient was the pecorino romano cheese (about $13.00). However, the flavor of that cheese just sealed the deal!
As I was getting all of the ingredients in order, one of which is unsweetened cocoa powder, I encountered my first "Oh, NO!, I really am an amateur" moment. I had purchased a box of unsweetened cocoa powder and took the lid off to open it, only to find that there is a tight plastic seal which needs to be removed. In so doing, about a cup full of this brown, but oh-so-wonderfully smelling, powder leaped from inside the box all over my kitchen cabinets and floors. The smell of chocolate caused our dog Fenway to come running in my direction, which immediately prompted me into doing some rapid karate moves trying to keep him away from it, as chocolate is lethal for dogs. A hidden camera would have probably earned us $10,000 from "America's Funniest Home Videos"--something to consider, as this is definitely a learn-as-I-go routine.
The total cost of this recipe was $39.30 (based on the ingredients I needed); However, $23.00 of that amount was for the wine and cheese alone. Of course, I had to buy a $10.00 bottle of chardonnay because Two-Buck-Chuck just won't do. So, another $3.93 is added to our jars bringing our total contribution thus far to $45.99.
Here is the recipe...
"Not-a-Boar Meat Sauce & Pasta" (from Rachael Ray):
Salt and pepper
1 pound rigatoni pasta or broken curly-edge lasagna noodles
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
3/4 pound ground pork
3/4 pound ground beef
1 small carrot, finely chopped or grated
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 sprigs thyme, stems discarded and leaves finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 pinches ground cloves or allspice
1/4 cup tomoato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine (eyeball it)
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup whole milk
1 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.
2. While the pasta is working, in a dutch oven or heavy pot, heat the EVOO, 2 turns of the pan, over medium-high heat until smoking. Add the pork and beef and cook, stirring, until browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the carrot, onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, cocoa and cloves; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste for 1 minute, then stir in the wine. Stir in the chicken stock and milk, lower the heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
3. Stir the pasta into the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Stir in the cheese to coat. Serve the pasta in shallow bowls.
I served this with a fresh spinach salad and some steamed broccoli --I am grateful that my babies love it! :)