Monday, January 26, 2009

Fettuccine Bolognese a la THE APARTMENT

I love movies, from indies to blockbuster to classics, there are few things I like more than getting lost in a movie. Clearly I love food as well, as this blog is a testament to. Well what could be better than when food and film come together, as they do in Billy Wilder's THE APARTMENT. There are just those moments where you remember what the characters where eating as much as what they were saying, doing or feeling. Think of the thinly shaved garlic for the gravy in GOODFELLAS or the armadillo-shaped red velvet cake in STEEL MAGNOLIAS to Bridget Jones' blue soup for her birthday dinner in BRIDGET JONES' DIARY. Throughout film there are these moments and my most recent viewing of THE APARTMENT reminded me of them and inspired me.

If you've never seen it, THE APARTMENT is a great film from 1960 starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. It was on Turner Classic Movies a few weeks ago and will air again January 29th, see it if you haven't. The quick logline is: An aspiring executive (Lemmon) rents his apartment to his bosses for thier trysts with their mistresses to then end up falling for the top boss' mistress (MacLaine). For me one of the most memorable scenes is when Fran (MacLaine) shows up at C.C.'s (Lemmon) apartment and C.C. is cooking spaghetti with meat sauce and using his tennis racket to drain the spaghetti. It just stuck with me, from the food to the fact that it was also a turning point in the movie. As a result, I decided to make a pasta with meat sauce in honor of the film. I jazzed mine up a bit from striaght spaghetti and meat sauce to Fettuccine Bolognese.

Fettuccine Bolognese

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 carrot - peeled and chopped
1 small onion - chopped
3 cloves of garlic - minced
2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb lean ground pork
1 can tomato paste
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
salt & pepper
pinch of sugar
1 lb of whole wheat fettuccine - cooked to al dente
fresh grated parmigiano

1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once the saucepan is heated saute garlic, onions, carrots and crushed red pepper until onions are translucent and carrots have softened. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
2. Push vegetables to the edges of the pan and add in the ground beef and pork to brown. Once meat has browned add in tomato paste, basil, oregano, slat & pepper. stir to combine and simmer on medium low for 5 minutes.
3. Add red wine and crushed tomatoes. Stir to combine and saute over medium low heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste and sugar a pinch at a time to cut the acidity of the tomatoes.
4. Serve over cooked fettuccine, topped with parmigiano and fresh cracked pepper.

This sauce was so thick (almost a ragu) and rich and full of tomato flavor, which was exactly what I was going for. the carrots add a nice element of sweetness that counter balances the spice or the red pepper and the acidity of the tomato nicely. I added a pinch more of sugar, but it all depends on taste. I'm happy with this movie inspired dish. Stay tuned as I have one more APARTMENT inspired dish coming later in the week. Enjoy!

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