Blanched Tomato Bolognese

Serves 4-8
You'll Need: 16 organic Roma tomatoes (washed, left whole), 3 quarts water in a large pot, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, 1 onion (diced), 1 small celery stalk (diced), 2 organic carrots (diced), 2 cloves garlic (chopped), 1.25 pounds of ground meat (I use ground turkey for a healthier option; any lean meat is fine), pinch kosher salt, pinch black pepper, pinch ground cumin, 2 Tbsp fresh Italian parsley (chopped or left whole), 4-5 fresh thyme sprigs (left whole on stems), 1 cup sweet wine (moscato is good), 1 cup vegetable broth, 1 pound pasta, parmesan cheese (garnish)

How to Prepare: Bring water to a boil. Using a skimmer or a spider, slowly lower 8 of the tomatoes into the water. Let them blanch for about 2 minutes. You'll notice the skins slowly shriveling and beginning to peel away from the tomato flesh. Remove the tomatoes and transfer them to an ice bath (to stop the cooking). Repeat with the last eight tomatoes. Peel the skins off of the tomatoes and set aside. In a large Dutch oven, heat the butter and oil. Add the onion, celery and carrots and sauté for a few minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for an additional two minutes. Transfer onion mixture to a  heat safe bowl and set aside. In a large preparation bowl, mix all the meat, salt, pepper and cumin. Squish it well with your hands and fingers (this will help tenderize the meat). Heat the remaining oils in the Dutch oven. Transfer the meat and brown the meat in the Dutch oven. Stir in the herbs and sauté for a few minutes (to release some of the oils in the herbs). Add the onion mixture, the tomatoes, and the liquids to the Dutch oven. Stir everything together. Cover and place on stove top over low heat. This will cook for about 4 hours. Stir every 30 minutes or so. Skim off any scum that forms at the top (during the 30 minute interval stir). Note, you can put this mixture into a slow cooker for 6-8 hours (stir and skim every hour). If too much liquid is evaporating, add a little bit more chicken broth and/or white wine at the halfway cooking mark. The house will smell delicious after a couple hours. After 4 hours on the stovetop, remove your Dutch oven. Remove the stems of thyme and toss. Remove about 1.5 cups worth of the sauce and set aside in a heat safe bowl. Using an immersion blender, blend up and puree the rest of the sauce in the Dutch oven. Pour the 1.5 cups of the chunky sauce back into the blended sauce. This gives a nice texture. Bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add a pound of pasta and cook according to package instructions. Serve bolognese sauce over pasta. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy.

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