Saturday, October 29, 2016

Women In Food ~ Anne Burrell's Bolognese

Welcome to the 2nd installment of Women In Food! Back in the early days of this blog, I'd planned on doing a monthly feature that would showcase one of the incredibly talented women, who are boldly and deliciously paving the way for new generations of female chefs, food writers and industry entrepreneurs.

My plan was (and still is) to provide you with a little background, some video and loads of delicious recipes from some of the best and brightest female chefs in the world. I really wanted to make Women In Food a regular feature, but as my 1st (and only other) installment would indicate, life (and Lupus) got in the way and that never really happened.

As you'll see by the date on my first post showcasing Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, HERE, it's been a very long time since I hatched this little plan. But...

In the future, I really do hope to do better when it comes to paying homage to these incredible female chefs, who are making their mark in what is still a mostly male dominated field. (If you'd like to know a little bit more about why it is that I admire these ladies so much, just click HERE)

So, without further ado, this installment's Woman In Food is...

Chef Anne Burrell

Host of the Food Network & Cooking Channel shows

Anne's Books

Anne's Website

Anne's Bolognese
  • 1 large onion or 2 small, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 2 large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 3 ribs celery, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for the pan
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 pounds ground chuck, brisket or round or combination
  • 2 cups tomato paste
  • 3 cups hearty red wine
  • Water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch thyme, tied in a bundle
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • High quality extra-virgin olive oil, for finishing

In a food processor, puree onion, carrots, celery, and garlic into a coarse paste. In a large pan over medium heat, coat pan with oil. Add the pureed veggies and season generously with salt. Bring the pan to a medium-high heat and cook until all the water has evaporated and they become nice and brown, stirring frequently, about 15 to 20 minutes. Be patient, this is where the big flavors develop.

Add the ground beef and season again generously with salt. BROWN THE BEEF! Brown food tastes good. Don't rush this step. Cook another 15 to 20 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and cook until brown about 4 to 5 minutes.

Add the red wine. Cook until the wine has reduced by half, another 4 to 5 minutes.

Add water to the pan until the water is about 1 inch above the meat.

(At this point in the video Anne tastes the sauce and adds more salt to the pan. As I say ~ in just about every recipe that I post on this blog ~ tasting the food and adding seasoning, if needed, is an integral part of cooking because each step or addition to a recipe can completely alter it's flavor profile as you add more ingredients, or as the different flavors begin to concentrate.)

Stir and TASTE frequently. Season with salt, if needed (you probably will).

(I love Anne's personality. She's bright, funny and she truly loves what she does for a living. Not all of us can say that, can we?)

Toss in the bay leaves and the bundle of thyme and stir to combine everything.

Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. As the water evaporates you will gradually need to add more, about 2 to 3 cups at a time.

Don't be shy about adding water during the cooking process, you can always cook it out. This is a game of reduce and add more water. This is where big rich flavors develop. If you try to add all the water in the beginning you will have boiled meat sauce rather than a rich, thick meaty sauce.

Simmer for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

During the last 30 minutes of cooking, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat to cook the spaghetti. Pasta water should ALWAYS be well salted. Salty as the ocean! TASTE IT! If your pasta water is under seasoned it doesn't matter how good your sauce is, your complete dish will always taste under seasoned.

When the water is at a rolling boil add the spaghetti and cook for 1 minute less than it calls for on the package.

While the pasta is cooking remove 1/2 of the ragu from the pot and reserve.

Drain the pasta and add to the pot with the remaining ragu. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Stir or toss the pasta to coat with the sauce. Add some of the reserved sauce, if needed, to make it about an even ratio between pasta and sauce. Add the reserved pasta cooking water and cook the pasta and sauce together over a medium heat until the water has reduced.

Turn off the heat and give a big sprinkle of Parmigiano and a generous drizzle of the high quality finishing olive oil. Toss or stir vigorously.

Divide the pasta and sauce into serving bowls or 1 big pasta bowl.

Top with remaining grated Parmigiano. Serve immediately.

Here's a short video of Chef Anne making this version of bolognese. I get such a kick out of her fun, slightly quirky personality and I find that watching her actually prrepare her recipes, just adds to the overall experience. Enjoy!

A Short Bio from the Food Network

"With her trademark spiky blond hair and pumped-up personality, Anne Burrell has worked at some of the top restaurants in New York, studied the culinary landscape and traditions of Italy, and battled alongside Mario Batali as his sous chef on Food Network’s Iron Chef America. Anne makes restaurant dishes accessible and reveals concise, easy-to-master techniques for the at-home cook on her Food Network series Secrets of a Restaurant Chef. On her show Chef Wanted, Anne helps top restaurateurs find candidates with the right experience and creativity to become executive chefs. On Worst Cooks in America, Anne joins Tyler Florence in mentoring teams of hopeless home cooks from around the country, putting them through culinary boot camp.

In 2011, Anne published her first cookbook, Cook Like a Rock Star, which gives home cooks the confidence and support to be rock stars in their own kitchens. Her cookbook earned a place on the New York Times Best Seller list. In fall 2011 Anne starred in her own right on Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs.

Growing up in upstate New York, Anne developed a passion for food and cooking at an early age. After obtaining an English and communications degree from Canisius College in Buffalo, she pursued her interest in the restaurant business by enrolling in the Culinary Institute of America. Following graduation, she spent a year in Italy attending the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners while working at La Taverna del Lupo in Umbria and La Bottega del' 30, a Michelin one-star restaurant in Tuscany. During this year, Anne grew to truly appreciate and understand the philosophy of Italian cuisine and culture, which left a lasting impact on her culinary point of view.

Upon her arrival in New York City, Anne was hired as a sous chef at Felidia, working with Lidia Bastianich. She then served as a chef at Savoy, where she cooked over an open wood fire and created flavorful menus inspired by Mediterranean countries. Here Anne developed her personal culinary style: rustic food made with pure and simple ingredients with intense flavors.

Anne then took the opportunity to spread her culinary knowledge and passion as a teacher at the Institute of Culinary Education. After three years, Anne went back to the restaurant business, serving as the executive chef at Lumi. Shortly after, she joined the Batali-Bastianich empire by accepting a job at Italian Wine Merchants. The job also included salumi production and traveling to off-site events with Mario Batali. When Mario became one of Food Network’s esteemed Iron Chefs, he knew exactly who to enlist as his sous chef: the talented and dynamic Anne Burrell.

As the executive chef at New York hot spot Centro Vinoteca from its opening in July 2007 through September 2008, Anne served up her "creative-authentic" Italian menu of small plates (piccolini), antipasti, pastas and main courses accented by her trademark bold, pure flavors."



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  1. --Just saw her on my newest obsession: Chopped!
    What a character! x

  2. Lovely recipe Mary. We love pasta. I am writing to you here, because you are no-reply blogger and your contact form is not connected. Glad you found the Recipe Wiz, however there is a better recipe format now. My friend designed one similar to Wordpress. I wrote a tutorial on my blog. It is called Recipes Generator. He sells it on Etsy for $20.00. The Recipes Generator plus Tutorial for Recipes Generator

    1. Thanks again, Linda! So glad you stopped by! Hope you'll be back to visit in the future!


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