Serious Eats: Recipes

Cook the Book: Farfalle Abruzzese with Veal, Porcini, and Spinach

[Photograph: Quentin Bacon]

For the longest time I was totally convinced that cold weather pasta didn't get better than a really great bowl of bolognese, that slow-simmered meat sauce enriched with everything from cream to pancetta and chicken livers, tinted red with just a hint of tomatoes. Of course, the downside to bolognese is that it requires quite the time commitment to reach that magically rich and meaty place.

This Farfalle Abruzzese with Veal, Porcini, and Spinach from Mario Batali's latest, Molto Batali is genius in that it gives you a deeply concentrated meaty ragu in barely any time at all. The secret here is the umami factor in the dried porcinis, chopped up fine and added with their liquid to a ground veal, rust-colored tomato paste and tomato sauce. The mushrooms add a depth that make it seem as though this sauce has been lazily bubbling away on the stove for hours instead of minutes.

Of course, for me the tell tale sign of a great ragu, be it bolognese or not, is whether or not you're tempted to eat it right out of the pot even before the pasta has a chance to cook, and this ragu barely stood a chance.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Molto Batali to give away this week.

Adapted from Molto Batali by Mario Batali. Copyright © 2011. Published by Ecco. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved

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