Project Food Blog Challenge Number 4 is to create a step-by-step photo tutorial.
First, thank you again for keeping me in this competition. I’m so honored to be included among the group of 100 who’ve made it this far.
For this round, I had a hard time deciding what I wanted to do. I thought about something as universally simple as the perfect over-easy egg, or as reputedly difficult as the french macaron. Neither of those things seemed quite right, though.
Then I began to put the challenge into the context of my life (in recipes…). What would I normally do, food-wise, over a long fall weekend? I’d most likely spend a good portion of it making a big pot of chili or spaghetti sauce – some to eat right away, and some to freeze. I love having a well stocked freezer, and nothing feels better than knowing that you have a great batch of pre-made sauce or soup available for dinner during the week.
I settled on a rustic roasted vegetable bolognese, and since we’d be eating some of it for dinner on Saturday, I decided to also make some fresh pappardelle pasta. For dessert, I made a sage-butternut squash gelato with brown butter toasted pumpkin seeds (just because).
I’m often overcome by the urge to make my meals completely from scratch. There’s something satisfying in knowing that you’ve taken simple, raw ingredients and transformed them into a beautiful, flavorful meal. While it does take quite a bit of time, I can’t really think of a way I’d rather spend my time than making a nourishing, wholesome dinner for my family. It did take most of my Saturday to produce this meal, but I had time while things were simmering, resting and freezing to do some laundry, play with the baby and watch that episode of The Next Iron Chef that I missed last Sunday.
While I understand that not everyone is going to grind their own meat (I just like using my new toy!) or make their own pasta (I love pappardelle, and it’s really hard to find around here), I hope that these tutorials will show that it really is quite easy to make a meal (with leftovers) using fresh, whole ingredients. And the gelato is just a bonus.
Rustic Roasted Vegetable Bolognese
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 5-6 hours
Yields: 5 quarts
4 lbs. roma tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
1 head garlic
3 large carrots
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1.5 lbs. beef chuck roast
1.5 lbs pork loin
2 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup red wine (one that you would drink)
salt and pepper to taste
|Top row: 1. Preheat oven to 375F. 2. Remove stem end of carrots. 3. Cut tomatoes in half. 4. Drizzle olive oil over a foil-lined baking sheet. 5. Place tomato halves cut side down on sheet; drizzle with more oil and sprinkle with salt. Row 2: 1. Place remaining vegetables in another baking dish; drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake all at 375 for 30-45 minutes. 2. 1.5 lbs. pork loin. 3. 1.5 lb. beef chuck roast. 4. Grind beef and pork together. 5. Place ground meat in fridge until ready to use. Row 3: 1. Roasted tomatoes. 2. Roasted pepper, garlic, carrots. 3. Place all roasted veg. in bowl of a food processor fitted with chopping blade. 4. Puree until smooth. 5. Heat a heavy 7 quart pot over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Row 4: 1. Sautee diced onion. 2. Add meat, salt and pepper. Cook meat until it loses its raw, pink look. 3. Add cream. 4. Grate 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg into pot. 5. Add wine. Row 5: 1. Add roasted veg puree. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on a very low simmer for 4 or 5 hours. 2. Serve over pappardelle. Freeze what you don’t use tonight in a gallon-sized freezer bag 3. Take a pretty picture. 4. Pour yourself a glass of wine. 5. Enjoy!!
Fresh Pappardelle Pasta
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Yields: 1 lb.
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
|Top Row: 1. Add 1 cup flour to your bowl. 2. Add 2nd cup flour. 3. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. 4. Clean up the egg you dropped on the counter. 5. Make a well in the flour/salt mixture and add three eggs. Stir with a fork to combine. Row 2: 1. Continue mixing by hand until fully incorporated. 2. Turn out onto floured surface and knead by hand until a smooth ball is formed. 3. Divide dough into six equal portions. 4. Enlist the help of your children – run dough through pasta machine, beginning with the widest setting, and gradually dialing down to the smallest setting. 5. It should look like this. Row 3: 1. Fold the dough in half twice (make sure it’s well floured on both sides so it doesn’t stick to itself). 2. Cut it into 1-inch strips. 3. Drape over a pasta dryer or the side of a bowl to dry. 4. Bring a large pot of liberally salted water to a boil. Add fresh pasta, cook until it floats. 5. Serve topped with bolognese and shaved parmesan cheese.
Butternut Squash Sage Gelato with Brown-Butter Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Rest Time: 2 hours (at least)
Freeze Time: 30 minutes
Yields: 1 quart
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1.5 cups milk
1.5 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/2 of a butternut squash, cooked (I steamed mine in the microwave for 5 minutes)
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup pumpkin seeds
|Top Row: 1. Lay out your ingredients. 2. Place milk, cream, sage, and squash in a saucepan, stir to combine. Heat to a simmer. 3. Whisk egg yolks and sugar together until light in color and frothy. 4. Puree milk/squash mixture with a stick blender. 5. Carefully pour milk mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Row 2: 1. Pour custard back into saucepan. Place over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until custard begins to set and coats the back of your spoon. 2. Pour through a fine mesh strainer to ensure a lump-free gelato. 3. Cover surface of custard with cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. 4. Once chilled, freeze according to your ice-cream maker’s manufacturer’s instructions. 5. Meanwhile, melt 2 Tablespoons butter in a skillet. Row 3: 1. Add pumkin seeds. 2. Cook over medium-low heat, watching carefully so they don’t burn, until the seeds are toasted and the butter is a deep brown. 3. Once gelato has frozen, add the pumpkin seeds and butter, stir to combine. Place in a freezer-safe container and freeze to harden. 4. Scoop, garnish with sage leaves and additional pumpkin seeds. 5. Enjoy!!
We wound up at the end of the night with three empty plates(four, if you count the baby, who also got in on the action), three full bellies, and a gallon of tasty bolognese in the freezer to use at a later date for lasagna or another pasta dinner.
The gelato was quite good. I don’t think that D liked it much, but the baby and I absolutely loved it. It wasn’t very sweet at all, and it had a very distinct squash flavor, with a warm sage finish. The crunch and salt from the pumpkin seeds and butter provided a nice contrast. If you’re looking for a unique way to showcase butternut squash, this is a good one.
Voting for round 4 of Project Food Blog opens at 6 AM Pacific time on Monday, October 11 and runs through 6 PM on Thursday October 14. If you like what you’ve seen here, you can vote for me by clicking on that widget over there in the right-had side bar starting then.