Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Baked Crespelle with Bolognese Meat Sauce

Can I just say, "Yum!"? Yum! This recipe was a pretty time-consuming one, but since I had an open day, I didn't mind "dinking" around in the kitchen! The Bolognese sauce takes a minimum of 3 hours to simmer and thicken, but the wonderful aroma wafting throughout my kitchen made it worth it! This sauce has a fun process, too--after sauteeing the onions, celery, and carrots, and after browning the ground sirloin, the mixture simmers in a cup of milk until the milk reduces out. Next, one cup of white wine was added, and then cooked until it evaporated. Finally, I added the tomatoes! Cooking the meat in the milk before the wine and the tomatoes protected the sauce from the acidity of the wine and tomatoes. And, even better yet--there's a secret ingredient: nutmeg! Wonderful! Overall, the flavors were wonderfully balanced.

Next came time to make the crespelles. Basically, they are like a crepe, or a very thin pancake. The batter was super-smooth and each crespelle was made out of 2 tablespoons of the batter. Quick and easy, but making about 16 of them (one at a time) took a bit of time. Fortunately, if I ever served them to company, they can be made in advance.

The recipe called for another sauce, a Bechamel sauce (looks better when the accent mark is over the first "e" like it is supposed to be!). It is a basic white sauce that is combined with the meat sauce for the filling and the topping. It made the meat sauce creamy.

The finished dish, fresh out of the oven! A sprinkling of freshly-grated Parmesan cheese and 5 minutes in the oven. I broiled them for a couple of seconds before pulling it out, just to crisp them up a bit. As you might have guessed, there are none leftover! (Sorry I didn't stage the plate better--we were anxious to eat!)
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