Green Peppercorn Marsala Sauce

Marsala wine: is a wine produced in the region surrounding the Italian city of Marsala in Sicily.  While the city’s natives sometimes drink “vintage” Marsala, the wine produce for export is universally fortified similar to Port, Madeira and Sherry. (Wikipedia)

If you are looking for an easy sauce to go with steak, look no further.  We were introduced to this sauce in a restaurant and decided if we could replicate it.  As it turns out, it tastes quite similar and even better using fresh peppercorns.  This sauce is easy to make and pairs well with beef.  You only need 4 ingredients and a bit of time.

green peppercorn

Madagascar green peppercor

Ingredients
2 cups of Marsala wine
2 tablespoons of butter
approx. 1 tablespoon fresh peppercorn
1/2 cup of chicken stock

Over medium heat, melt the butter and stir in the rest of the ingredients.  Cook until the liquid is reduced in half.  Presto instant steak sauce!

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Lamb Bolgonese

Bolgonese: known in Italian as ragù alla bolognese, is a meat-based sauce originating from Bologna, Italy. (Wikipedia)

This lamb bolgonese recipe is easy to make if you have time for a bit of prep work.  It requires a few simple ingredients to create a mouth watering dish in the end.  The key to this dish is to not over complicate things by adding too many ingredients.

Ingredients

1/4 cup pancetta – finely chopped
a couple tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper
1-2 large carrot – finely diced
1-2 ribs of celery – finely diced
1 yellow onion – finely diced or you can use 2 shallots and 1/2 a yellow onion if you want to mix it up a bit
2-3 cloves of garlic – finely diced
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary – finely chopped
a bit of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon tomato paste
a pound of ground lamb
1 cup red wine
Parmesan
Parsley

Heat the olive oil over medium heat and fry the pancetta until it turns brown.  Add in the carrot, celery and onion and season with salt and pepper.  Allow enough time for the vegetables to sweat, approximately 5-10 mins.  Stir in the garlic and fry for another 1-2 mins.  Add in the lamb and fry until brown.  Stir in the tomato paste and add the cup of red wine.  Stir the mixture and reduce the sauce over low to medium heat.  You want to aim for a dry sauce (ie. little liquid left).

While the sauce is reducing, cook your favorite pasta according to the directions on the package (spaghetti or tagliatelle pasta works well with this sauce).  Once the sauce is reduced and the pasta is cooked, toss to combine.  You can garnish it with Parmesan cheese and parsley.  Enjoy!

Simple Yet Tasty Spaghetti Sauce

San Marzano Tomatoesa variety of plum tomatoes, are considered by many chefs to be the best paste tomatoes in the world. (Wikipedia)

San Marzano tomato

San Marzano tomato

The key to a delicious spaghetti sauce is keeping it simple and using the correct type of tomatoes.  I’ve tried different types of tomatoes but the best tomatoes I recommend are san marzano tomatoes.  These types of tomatoes have thinner skins versus other tomatoes with thicker flesh and fewer seeds.  On it’s own these tomatoes have a stronger taste, sweeter and less acidic, perfect basis for a spaghetti sauce.

Ingredients

2 thin slices of pancetta (if you want a vegetarian version feel free to omit this as it will still be tasty)
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 can of San Marzano tomatoes
fresh parmesean
fresh mozzarella
fresh basil leaves

Chop the pancetta into small pieces and fry over medium to high heat.  While it is cooking, mince the garlic.  Add it to the pan without draining any of the fat.  If you feel there is too much fat or want a healthier version by all means, drain the fat prior to adding the garlic or skip completely as it will still taste good.  Stir the mixture approximately 2-3 minutes.  Slowly add the San Marzano tomatoes including the liquid being careful not to splatter yourself.  Mash the tomatoes in the pan and cook the sauce over medium to high heat until the sauce is reduced by two thirds – you want to aim for a dry sauce.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Cook spaghetti noodles according to the package (unless you feel motivated to make fresh pasta) and toss with the sauce.  Plate the spaghetti, sprinkle shredded Parmesan over the dish and slices of fresh mozzarella.  Add torn basil leaves for garnish.  If you want to kick it up a notch, drizzle a bit of basil oil over the dish and enjoy.

Tip #9 – Disposing of cooking fat

Have you ever found yourself cooking and pouring the fat into a bowl only to deal with a greasy mess afterwards when cleaning up?  A super easy and clean method is to line a bowl with tin foil prior to pouring the grease into it.  Allow the grease to solidify (or not) and then crumple up the tin foil and throw it away.  Presto!  An easy way to avoid messy cleanups.