We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
When I grew up, "Italian food" meant various forms of wheat (no egg) pasta with red glop on top, and maybe meatballs or eggplant. That, plus pizza and Italian grinders. Also, Lasagna I guess, made from an American cookbook.
They don't make grinders in Italy, and their pizzas aren't any good. I gave up on them. American wood-cooked pizzas can be pretty good, though.
This was because most of the Italian immigrants to America were from a poor southern Italy with Neapolitan food traditions. To tell the truth, I do not care too much for that stuff but I am willing to eat it if I am starving. I do like a good Pasta Fagiole but I can make the best one you have ever had, and I will have a Bolognese on Tagliatelle. Call me a food snob.
Our best Italian meals have been in Umbria, which is where Romans take dining expeditions by the busload - so they can drink and gorge on wild pig, and get a ride home. No good Italian food tastes wonderful without wine. If you're on the wagon, it's not so wonderful unless it includes truffles or Balsamic. They do not use much wine in their cooking because you are supposed to be sipping it as you eat. Wine is expected to be an accompaniment, blending in your mouth.
I had a fine Lasagna in Verona for lunch, in a sidewalk cafe near the Arena. No red sauce, heavy on the nutmeg which makes sense, given the history of being part of the Venetian Empire for a while. One Italian dish I really wanted to try in Italy was Vitello Tonnato - Veal with Tuna Sauce. Mrs. BD makes an excellent version, but somehow we missed it on our last trip. Also wanted to try their Chicken Liver with Balsamic, but missed that too. That's OK - food isn't everything - and we know some great Italian restaurants in NYC.
Dear BD: I have read one of these articles this morning and will read the rest in a quiet time this weekend. I usually plan the week's menu on Sunday. In the meantime would you be so kind as to give me some thoughts on Bolognese sauce? I know there is cream, but is it added at the end, or in the middle? There is a battle over which wine--white or red? I would love to have your thoughts on this dish. I had a great Bolognese once and never forgot it--it did have cream (or, was it milk?)
Thank you again for your time and thoughtfulness in keeping MF at the level of quality that it offers daily. You are a blessing!
My favorite recipes for Bolognese always add milk in the middle, the meat cooks down in milk during that part of the process. A very stern Italian lady insists on it, as does M Hazan, I believe. Wine is your choice, there are a number of reds I much prefer with Bolognese, but then white wine is for cooking, not drinking ;)