I Cooked Meat and Lived to Tell the Story

Who cooked her first meat meal in years and survived? This girl. Polyface Meat Meal #1 was a beef-based “Bolognese” sauce.

i made that.

I call it “Bolognese” because tomato meat sauce is not at all like a traditional bolognese [which is veal, butter, onion, carrot, pancetta, truffles, broth, cream]. Instead, this is what most people think bolognese is [myself included]: tomatoes, vegetables, meat, garlic, olive oil, S&P. I don’t feel that terrible considering I’ll get to try the real thing in Bologna this summer, but I also can’t hold this out as a traditional Italian dish. It’s not.

the base.

I started by dicing one onion, one carrot, one green pepper and a ton of garlic and letting it saute in olive oil while I worked on the tomatoes. No canned tomatoes were used during the making of this faux-bolognese – I peeled, seeded and diced them myself. PRO TIP THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE: Get a pot of water boiling, cut a slit in each tomato, and drop them into the boiling water for anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute. Then, the skin peels off with ease. It’s beautiful. I used a spoon to scoop out the seeds and cores. The tomatoes were mashed into this roux and I let it cook down [20-ish minutes?].

We got fresh cut linguine and 24-year parm at Whole Foods because Polyface meat deserves some good stuff. This pasta took seconds to cook. I probably overcooked it, to be honest. While the pasta was boiling, I crumbled half of the package of meat and flash-cooked it in the tomato reduction with a splash of wine:

This Cab (30%), Sangiovese (30%), Syrah (20%) and Petite Syrah (20%) blend from Napa was a gift from Shaun’s parents. It’s billed as a “Super Tuscan” wine, so we thought fauxolognese was the perfect meal to pair it with. It was much fruitier than I expected, filled with dark berries and just a hint of spice. I don’t know that I would call it “Super Tuscan,” but it was delicious all the same, and the kitchen smelled like heaven when I poured some into the sauce.

We always forget to use our Moleskine Wine Journal whenever we find a bottle we love. It’s stashed away on the cookbook shelf, but I made sure we kept a record of this one:

Delicious meal.

I enjoyed cooking and eating this, and Shaun promised I did a good job with the meat. The carrot, onion and pepper melted into the fresh tomatoes, which were really thick and creamy by the time they reduced. The scent of the wine was powerful, and the glass of wine on the side accentuated the dish’s flavor. But I’ll be honest, I didn’t feel like I was eating something I missed. The taste was negligibly different from a tomato sauce with soy crumbles, in my opinion. It was certainly a little juicier, but filling in that red-meat way that I don’t think is worth it in a simple pasta dish. The dish was heavy [which I consider different from filling]. Shaun’s going to use the rest of the beef to make himself a meal, because I’m calling it a day on the beef. Still happy I gave it a shot, though!

Then, this guy wanted to hang:

So we sat out on the porch and finished the wine before settling down to watch Fargo [which I had never seen]. Grady has a crush on Frances McDormand, so he had good times.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s Sunday morning and Grady and I have some squirrels to watch and papers to write.


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Beverages, Food, Recipes


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/courtney-marello/1a/375/b30 Tumblr: http://abarrelofoddsandends.tumblr.com/


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  1. Polyface Meat Meal #2: Chicken | Ryes and 'Shine - April 23, 2012

    […] is part II of III dinners made from meat we purchased at Polyface two weekends ago [for meal #1, go here], and of the two it certainly takes the cake. This lil’ 3-lb chicken was prepared with the […]

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