By the Book: "Flour + Water" by Thomas McNaughton
I’ve visited San Francisco twice and both times I tried, unsuccessfully, to get a table at the incredibly popular Flour + Water. So, when the book by Thomas McNaughtan came across my desk, I had to cook out of it. If I wanted to eat Flour + Water food, I was going to have to make it myself.
I chose the tagliatelle Bolognese, and used a dried tagliatelle rather than making it from scratch – instantly simplifying the recipe. To make the sauce, McNaughton emphasizes the most important ingredient: time. The man knows what he’s talking about. This sauce needs five hours to simmer, giving the vegetables, meat, tomato paste, milk and butter all a chance to meld flavors. The sauce gently bubbled, each ingredient slowly imparting its layer of flavor, while I watched TV in the next room. Honestly, the sauce worked harder than I did; I just had to give it time. And this ultra comforting bowl of pasta is worth the wait.
Skill level: Beginner, intermediate and advanced. The recipes seem carefully written. The skill level varies and depends on the complexity of the pasta shape and if you make it from scratch.
This book is for: People who love pasta.
Other recipes to try: Burrata triangoli with preserved lemon, summer squash and mint
The verdict: The dish was a hit. Check back next week when Flour + Water takes on Eating Italy by Jeff Michaud.
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
12 ounces ground beef
5 1/2 ounces ground pork
3 1/2 ounces pancetta, chopped
3 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup milk
22 ounces dried tagliatelle pasta
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup unsalted butter
Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, for finishing
• For the Bolognese, heat the oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot. Saute until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the beef, pork and pancetta; saute, breaking up with the back of a spoon, until browned, about 15 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups of the stock and the tomato paste; stir to blend. Reduce the heat to very low and gently simmer, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper.
• In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer; then gradually add to the sauce. Cover the sauce with a lid slightly ajar and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk is absorbed, about 1 hour, adding more stock 1/4 cup at a time to thin, if needed.
• Bring a large pot of seasoned water to a boil.
• Transfer the Bolognese to a 12-inch saute pan and bring to a simmer. Add the butter and begin swirling to combine.
• At the same time, drop the pasta in the boiling water. Once the pasta is cooked 80 percent through, about 2 to 3 minutes, add it to the pan. Reserve the pasta water. Continue to simmer, stirring constantly, until you achieve a sauce-like consistence, about 3 minutes. Season with salt. Remove from the heat.
•To serve, divide the pasta and sauce between four plates. Finish with the Parmigiano-Reggiano.
Reprinted with permission by Ten Speed Press
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