Veal Chops with Mustard Cream Sauce

Regular readers of this site know I have a taste for veal. Its tender, delicate in flavor, and carefully done, always makes a meal special for me. The idea behind this dish was kind of a mix of two meals I’d made before: procedurally, the style of cooking was like another veal chop I had made while the sauce was inspired by a creamy mustard pasta which was a big hit. I love cooking chops (of whatever meat)–they’re quick to prepare, a crowd pleaser, and packed with flavor.

I was excited about this dish when I was planning it, but the result far exceeded my expectations. It was simply incredible and the flavor of the sauce was surprisingly complex. You couldn’t pick out that its exactly mustardy–just kind of tangy. Both the thyme and caraway give a great mellow, anisey sweetness that really accentuates the dijon. Overall, it wasn’t your typical… click to read more…

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Ragù alla Bolognese (Bolognese Sauce)

When I was young, pasta came with one of two sauces: tomato or meat. Now, I can appreciate that there’s a lot more to “meat sauce” than I used to think there was, and anybody who has ever tried to pursue that perfect Bolognese sauce knows just what I mean. For instance, despite its appearance, tomato should not be a huge part of the sauce–a variety of meats, slowly braised and simmered, is the true star, giving this sauce a full body and an incredible complexity. Of course, no matter how you make it, it won’t be hard to find somebody else who does it completely differently. Ragù alla Bolognese is one of those personal, family tradition kind of sauces that has as many recipes as there are people on the planet at any given moment.

I was inspired by the insights into the history and approaches to this sauce, and couldn’t resist throwing my hat… click to read more…

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Veal Shoulder Steak with Port Fennel Mushroom Sauce

Like most braises, this isn’t quite hot-summer-day food, but if you can’t wait til winter (and given the seasons for one of the key ingredients, winter isn’t possible), this is a good dish for a gloomy, rainy day when you want something hearty to warm you up from the inside out. First, a fennel bulb (a fun vegetable to work with) is caramelized and braised with mushrooms to make a delicious side dish and leave a strongly flavored broth behind which, combined with a bit of Port, is used for braising a veal shoulder steak.

This is something of an ugly duckling. If you tell me that photo looks beautiful, I’d say you’re being polite (but I would also serve you dinner…see how much you get if you tell me what you really think of that photo! ;-) ). But that’s just fine as we all know how the ugly duckling routine… click to read more…

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Veal Chops with an Herbed Pan Sauce

This dish had everything going for it–its quick to prepare, delicious, and to seal the deal: its veal! Some times, the simplest approaches are the best kind, and for this, I decided to stick to one pan so as to have really flavorful meat and to use those juices for an even more flavorful pan sauce. So today: Veal Chops with an Herbed Pan Sauce.

While the dish has a somewhat rustic appearance, the taste is stunning. The veal had a great, buttery crust on it while the meat inside was melt-in-your-mouth tender with that delightful, harmoniously neutral veal flavor. The sauce was simple, but surprisingly rich and hearty, being earthy, herbaceous, and slightly sweet. This was also given body from the gelatin released in cooking the veal and enriched with butter to add that little touch that puts it over the top.

The only thing that didn’t live up to my expectations: the cheese I stuffed into the… click to read more…

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Spaghetti & Fontina-Stuffed Veal Meatballs

Lately, my pasta dishes have kind of obviously been focused on comfort-food, and this is no different. Today, we have another classic dish, with a little twist to make it something special: spaghetti and fontina-stuffed veal meatballs.

Spaghetti & Fontina-Stuffed Veal Meatballs

I decided to make my own tomato sauce, but I struggled with it. When I say struggled, I don’t mean that making the sauce was hard–far from it! The real difficulty was resisting my temptation to over-complicate things and throw in all sorts of herbs and spices. I decided for once to give the classic Italian cooking mantras a chance and to let the tomatoes speak for themselves, hoping they wouldn’t let me down. As it turns out, the tomatoes heard my prayers and they came through! I didn’t have any great fresh tomatoes, but I did try a recommendation for a better brand of canned San Marzano tomatoes, which was certainly a bit pricier than… click to read more…

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Lasagna Bolognese

I love pasta, but there’s a special place in my heart for lasagna. This is one of those pasta dishes that takes time and effort, but the end result is amazing and definitely up there among the best of pasta-centric comfort-foods. With a little extra attention paid to the noodles, the sauce, and the cheese, lasagna is a force to be reckoned with.

Lasagna Bolognese

I approached this dish more with the intent of clearing out leftovers. You know, something simple that would come out reasonably well with little effort while freeing up space in the fridge and leaving no waste. But then I thought, well, I’d still like to play with my pasta maker, so maybe I could make my own noodles? And then, well, if I have these nice veal leftovers, I shouldn’t just use some jarred sauce, since that just doesn’t seem right. And how would it look on the web site? And after a series… click to read more…

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