The Story of How the Box Became THE BOX:
One day, a few years back I received a text message from John. At this time, John was using a cell phone that required him to push the number buttons several times to register the proper letter equivalent while texting. You all remember these phones…some of you may still have one, yes? Hopefully not. ANYWAY, John texted me about our dad. THE BOX. But he was not yet called The Box.
He WAS called “Fat Boy,” a name I have called him since I was in the fourth grade. Cute, don’t you think? Anyway, John did not push the “XYZ” button on his phone the appropriate number of times, so instead of texting “Fat Boy” in reference to our dad, he texted, “Fat Box.”
It has become, in my opinion, the most advantageous typographical error in cell phone history. Fat Boy ever after became Fat Box, and then “The Box,” which is a great name for our dad. So, in honor of him, We present this pasta recipe: Pasta for The Box, But Not From a Box. Wearing Sox.
What You Need:
2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes with juice or crushed tomatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 ounces pancetta or 6 slices bacon, finely chopped
1/2 pound ground beef chuck (not lean)
1/2 pound ground veal
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 carrot, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound small pasta
Garnish: Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
What To Do:
If using whole tomatoes, in blender or food processor, purée tomatoes with juice. Set aside.
In large, heavy pot over moderate heat, heat oil until hot but not smoking. Add pancetta and sauté until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes. Add beef, pork, and veal and sauté, breaking up meat with back of spoon, until browned, 7 to 8 minutes. Add onion and carrot and sauté until vegetables are tender, 5 to 6 minutes.
Stir in red wine and simmer, scraping up browned bits stuck to bottom of pan, until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, cream, salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to moderately low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened and brick-red in color, approximately 30 minutes.
In large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until almost tender. Drain well and toss with sauce. Serve with grated cheese.
For Homemade Pasta:
As a general rule of thumb, use 1 cup of flour/egg per person. Create a “well” in your pile of flour and crack the egg(s) into the well.
Break up the egg yolk with your fingers first, then slowly gather in your flour until it is gone. Add sprinkles of flour or drops of water to combat a wet or dry mixture.
Knead dough until it has achieved a proper “bounce back” feel to it. Once it is ready, feed the dough into your pasta machine between the rollers at its widest setting. Crank that bad boy through and, gradually, narrow the setting on the rollers so until the dough gets very thin. Once thin, feed the sheet of dough through the setting for shredding.
Place the noodles on a floured pan to negate any sticking. Then, add to a pot of boiling water for 1-2 minutes. Viola.
This recipe was inspired by one found here on Epicurious.com.