“Hey, come over here kid, learn something. You never know you might have to cook for twenty guys someday. You see, you start out with a little bit of oil. Then you fry some Garlic. Then you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it, ya make sure it doesn’t stick. You get it to a boil. You shove in your sausage and meatballs, heh..? And a little bit of wine, add a little bit of sugar, and that’s my trick.” We are losing count of the days we are in self-quarantine. It is the first time that I can remember that a Michigan governor followed an Ohio Governor in how to lead, but most of the state seems to be coping with it.
Any ways, I guess I am helping out in the kitchen, and that is OK, because it was brought up that perhaps I should make my Sauce Bolognese. Now you have to realize, that when I cook, there is a mess, not like I am a slob, but I get everything prepped like I am a big-time chef. There are bowls of pre-diced peppers, garlic, a couple bowls of onions and mushrooms. My Bride went to one of those chains that sell everything and they even think that they can sell groceries, I have never set foot in one of the stores, but she came back with the ingredients, but mostly Brand X. Now normally, I want the stewing meat from the butcher shop ground twice, but since there was a rush on groceries she came home with a couple of packages of “ground sirloin” that did not look like any ground meat that I have ever saw. I have two secrets that I will share with you, when making the sauce, I like to start with frying up some prosciutto, but we started with bacon for a smokey flavor in the bottom of the pot, plus then I have a little bacon sandwich, during the early part of the cooking. My other secret is that I also finely dice up some carrots and I use this in lieu of adding sugar, to cut the acidity of the tomatoes, and this was shared by an old paisan of mine. I spiced up the “meat” while it was cooking, and then I added the Brand X canned tomato products of paste, sauce and puree and then I added more spices and zing. I even added a half bottle of a great red wine to the sauce and let everything simmer for about four hours, with nothing but stirring and some more spices. I mean it was tough, that I didn’t even have “real” bread to scoop up some sauce for a sauce sandwich to check on the flavor. In spite of my bellyaching, while it may not have been my best sauce, I finally was able to doctor it enough that it had some taste, not to mention that she was able to bag and freeze about three or four quarts for using later on, depending on whether we get clemency and an early parole.
While it was simmering, I went down to the cellar and was rummaging around looking for something interesting or something I may have forgotten about, you know that happens. I found a bottle of Farnese Vini Castello Vecchio Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 1997. Farnese Vini is an Italian wine group and one of the leading export companies in Southern Italy and today produces about thirteen-billion bottles of wine a year. They have seven wineries in Puglia, Campania, Basilicata, Abruzzo and Sicily. In Abruzzo, Farnese Vini owns two wineries one is Caldora and the other is Fantini Farnese. Fantini Farnese has a wide range of red and white wines under multiple labels and designations. Castello Vecchio is no longer a viable label that I can find, but it was barrel aged and of course made from the Montepulciano grape. This wine was a bit troublesome to open, as the cork was giving me some difficulty, but with aid of one of my “Ah-So” metal prong openers, I got the cork out intact. The wine still had a deep color, with just perhaps a tinge of brown at the rim, and the nose was very light. The wine was drinking very easy with almost no tannins or fruit showing, but a very layered soft wine that really was subtle with the Sauce Bolognese. Even a couple of days later, when we had some leftovers of the pasta and I reopened the bottle it was still totally enjoyable. I am sure that this wine would have been quite robust young, but it was very interesting to see how it had become a mellow twenty-three-year-old. The good news is that we are still eating and drinking through the mandated quarantine.