Someone left a platter of Italian meats at my house. While that sort of thing is great while you’re quaffing wine and eating cheese with friends, this isn’t something I’d be eating on my own. I’m not such a fan of prosciutto anyway, but there was also dried beef which has a distinctly perfumey taste (ditto on the fan thing) and some sausages of unknown variety but pretty salami-like. I decided to chop it all up and make spaghetti. While I don’t like prosciutto so much like it is, cooked I am fine with it.
So I went with Bolognese. I usually use porchetta when I make it (Cook’s Complicated, er, Illustrated, says mortadella and pancetta but I think porchetta is much better) and frankly, once this version of sauce was done I really couldn’t taste a difference at all. I gave some to my friend Karen and she was very enthusiastic about it without knowing I had compromised the recipe.
The thing is, what really makes this different and delicious, warm and comforting, is the use of sage rather than oregano and thyme, and the mystical chicken liver which transforms the sauce from pedestrian to sublime. No one would ever know it’s there but would miss it if it weren’t.
OK, OK. I know. There were mushrooms in it and, yes, that is so not bolognese. Jeez.