Published Tuesday, 10 January, 2012 by Zachery James Scott
1. Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Fill a large bowl with ice-cold water. Make a cross with a sharp knife in the underside of each tomato. Blanch the tomatoes by dropping them into the boiling water for 10 seconds and then carefully removing them to the bowl of ice-cold water. Take them out of the water immediately and peel off the split skins.
2. Cut the tomatoes in quarters. With your knife, scrape/scoop/cut out the seeds, the membrane and the cores. Roughly chop the seeds and membrane, then tip them into a sieve over a bowl. Sprinkle over the salt and leave for 20 minutes to extract their juice, after which you can discard the seeds and membrane, reserving only the juice.
3. Roughly chop the tomato flesh and set aside.
4. Meanwhile, place a large, heavy-bottomed pan over a low heat. Add 100ml of the olive oil. Mince the garlic, then put it into the pan along with the onion. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until soft but not coloured.
5. Crush the coriander and put it in a muslin bag (or herb container), along with the star anise and the cloves. Add it to the softened onions and garlic.
6.Take the juice drawn from the tomato seeds and membrane and add it to the onions and garlic along with the tomato flesh.
7. Add the Tabasco, fish sauce, Worcestershire sauce, tomato ketchup and sherry vinegar. Drop in the bouquet garni and cook over a low heat for 2 hours.
8. To add a roasted note to the compote, add the remaining oil and turn up the heat to high. Fry the compote for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring regularly to make sure it doesn't catch, then pour off any olive oil not absorbed by the compote. Set aside a little to coat the cooked pasta. ( The rest can be stored in a jar and makes a great base for a salad dressing. The compote itself will keep in the fridge for a week.) I just didn't trust this part and I was getting tired, so I skipped it.
PART III - FINISHING THE SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE
1 batch of tomato compote
1 batch of meatsauce
100g good quality spaghetti per person
sherry vinegar, to taste
Parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano)
1 bouquet garni (in a sheet of leek, wrap 6 tarragon leaves, 4 sprigs of parsley and the leaves from the top of a bunch of celery)
extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Stir the tomato compote (including the bag of spices) into the meat-sauce and cook over a very low heat for a final 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
2. Transfer as much sauce as you need this time to a baking pan and fry until all the excess liquid, as shown on the photo on the right has vapourized. Put the rest in freezer bags to freeze.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil for the pasta. For every 100g of pasta, You'lll need 1 litre of water and 10g salt. (If you don't have a large enough pan i's essential to use two pans rather than overcrowd one.)
4. Put the spaghetti into the pan, give it a stir, then bring back to the boil and cook until the pasta is just tender but with a bite. Check the cooking time on the packet and use that as a guideline, but taste it every few minutes as this is the only way to judge when the pasta is ready.
5. Before taking the Bolognese sauce off the heat, check the seasoning and then add some sherry vinegar (tasting as you go) to balance the richness of the sauce. (I think I was too cautious here, I was afraid, after 3 days of cooking, I would ruine the sauce, hihi. Next time I will add a little extra) Add a generous grating of Parmesan (but not too much, as it can make the sauce overly salty) and remove the sauce from the heat. Take out the original thyme and bay bouquet garni and the bag of spices. Replace these with the parsley and tarragon bouquet garni, stir in 100g of unsalted butter and let the sauce stand for 5 minutes.
6. Once the pasta is cooked, drain, and rinse it thoroughly. Return to the pot to warm through. (Since the ragu is not going to be mixed with the pasta, it needs to be rinsed to prevent it becoming starchy and sticking together.) Add a generous knob of butter (about 50g per 400g of pasta) and coat with olive oil and the reserved oil from the final frying of the compote. To serve, wind portions of pasta around a carving fork and lay them horizontally in wide, shallow bowls. Top with the Bolognese sauce and finish with a grating of Parmesan.
7. Eat it! And serve the oaked chardonnay that went in it. I was quite surprised how well that combined. I really loved it.