Ragù Bolognese and Sedi, the Bunny Slayer

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Sedi, aka Sweet Pea, my little, brown, German, pointy-nosed bitch, has another name added to the ever growing list: Sedi, the Bunny Slayer.

Yesterday, as I was taking the girl-dogs for their morning constitutional, we had AN EVENT!

The girls were running ahead as usual.  As I came around the bushes towards the lower part of our yard I thought I saw decrepit, old Sedi, with her bad hips, slip in the wet grass.   

I thought I heard her pathetic cry of pain.

I thought 'Oh poor, poor Sedi!'

Then she stood up straight and looked at me. 
Proudly. 
With a rabbit in her jaws.

She hadn't slipped; she was merely executing a tight turn.  (Didn't know the old girl had it in her!)

CowcloseShe hadn't whimpered in pain; it was the bunny screaming in frightened agony.

The neighbors ("boys-in-the-'hood", cows) came running to see what all the commotion was about.

I'm not certain who was more surprised: me or the dog!

I yelled.  Sedi ran in circles with the bunny in her mouth.  Emma, chasing Sedi,  wanted in on the fun.

Finally I convinced Sedi to drop the bunny.  Too late, I'm afraid.  The bunny got up, made a feeble attempt to hop, fell back down, kicked out her back legs and died.  Both dogs immediately lost interest. 

I wanted to cry.

Which is a very strange reaction since that same bunny has been plaguing my gardens all summer!  First there was a huge hole in the middle of my iris bed.  Then she dug up every sage seedling I planted for 2 months.  The last appearance had her tunneling under my English thyme.

I should have been happy that my faithful dog had solved this problem for me.

I just felt sad that now the other little bunny would be alone.  Sigh….

Mon mari wanted to know why we weren't having rabbit stew for dinner….
I'm not cut out for farm life….

Presto2bpast2bnights1On the other hand I do very well with meat that has not been killed in front of me.

Spaghetti Bolognese is the most innocuous, lackluster, boring dish that appears on more restaurant menus, worldwide, than any other.

It's a last resort choice.

"The kids are picky eaters; they'll have the Bolognese."

"Nothing looks good, I'll just have the Bolognese."

"My stomach's not right, just give me the Bolognese."

Usually, said Bolognese is a thick, tomato paste, kind of sauce; a big red glop on top of some noodles. 

I'm not saying it's not good, satisfying, even tasty.  I am saying it can be so much more.

BolognesecloseA true, northern Italian Ragù Bolognese has layers of complex, complimentary flavors.  It's not thrown together in a hurry; it's lovingly, meticulously created and simmered slowly to bring out the best of each ingredient.

It's a work of art.

After all the cheesy gooey, comforting food I have indulged in during the past few weeks I thought I should lighten it up a bit.  Yes, pasta can be light; just leave off the heavy cream and cheese – and don't eat too much!

Hopefully, all the readers of Presto Pasta Nights, founded and hosted by the lovely Ruth, of Once Upon A Feast, will agree with me.   Oh, Ruth – I even made homemade spaghetti for this!

Ragù Bolognese
     This is based on a recipe found in the Time Life "Foods of the World, Italian,' book.   

4 oz Prosciutto (125 gr)Bolognese_2
4 oz ground pork (125 gr)
16 oz ground beef (500gr)
1 large onion, about 1 cup chopped
1 medium carrot, about 1/3 cup chopped
2 stalks celery, about 2/3 cup chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups beef stock
1 can diced or chopped tomatoes
4 tbs tomato paste or 1 small can
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
a pinch of nutmeg

Roughly chop the carrots, celery, garlic and onion.  Then, very, very finely chop the vegetables.  Do it in a food processor, or blender if you can, but stop before you make paste.  Heat 1 tbs oil in nonstick skillet.  Add the vegetables and sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes.  Remove and put into a large sauce pan.  Finely chop the ham.  Put the ham, pork and beef into the same skillet.  Sauté until cooked through and brown, breaking it up as small as you can.  Pour in the wine, turn the heat up and boil until most of the liquid has cooked off, stirring to get up any browned bits in the skillet.  Add the meat and remaining liquid to the vegetables.  Stir in the stock, tomatoes and tomato paste.  Add the herbs and nutmeg.  Bring to a boil, stir well, cover partially, reduce heat and simmer for at least 40 minutes, 90 would be better, stirring occasionally.  Refrigerate unused sauce for later or freeze for up to 4 months. 

For a pasta sauce it's traditional to add cream or milk – I just add a bit of Greek yogurt or crème fraiche.  For other uses (such as risotto) the dairy is left out.  This makes enough for the Bolognese Risotto and/or Bolognese Lasagne with Spinach as well as the Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti, freshly home made is good 
1 1/2 – 2 cups Ragù Bolognese
2 tbs cream or creme fraiche or milk, optional
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Cook pasta. Combine cream with sauce if using. Toss the pasta with the sauce and serve, Parmesan on the side.

Be sure to stop by Once Upon A Feast,on Friday for all of the yummy recipes!

As to the bunny: R.I.P.

SkeletonsDon't forget to search your closet/pantry for skeletons.  Remember, confession is good for the soul.  It can be an actual recipe, or just the description of the, um, food or any food and holiday related debacle/story/mishap…. Really, any dirty little secret you feel like sharing!  You have until Christmas to post – the round-up will be just before Dec. 31.   The usual rules: post, link to me, send me an e-mail with permalink.  Click for details!

Come on, tell!  Share the pain…you'll feel better!  And so will we!

Comments 23

  1. I don’t think I’m cut out for farm life, either. I’d eat that bunny if I bought it at the market, all packaged up, but I don’t have the stomach for the steps in between when the dog kills it, and when I get into the kitchen to cook!

  2. Poor Thumper! If I were a farmer, I would have to resort to being a vegetarian. My grandparents had a farm and the day they slaughtered the cow that I hand fed as a calf…well that did it for me! Took me years to get over that. Now I just wished the meat that I do eat would come from farmers like my grandparents. Luckily when I am in Ohio, it does! Your Sedi story is great and I wonder if she is a bit sore today from her burst of energy! Great cow photo:)

  3. Lydia, I agree, packaged bunny is delicious! When we first moved to Andorra the rabbits were sold with skin on or off…but hanging from meat hooks. Too much information for me!
    Peter, I agree, always good!
    Deb, Sedi is still strutting around! My mother (and thus, the family) would never eat lamb because she raised them as pets on the farm as a child. Fortunately, I was introduced to it as an adult…
    Thanks, Bellini Valli, it IS a hearty sauce…

  4. Katie you always seem to have just a wonderful “tale” to tell about everyday life but yours seems so much more than mine! My grandmother raised rabbits and I played with them as a child. I sure I ate them because one of my fondest memories is of my grandmother’s fried rabbit! She did it just like fried chicken only with rabbit and that was the most incredibly oh so good to eat meat ever!!
    And the Time Life Foods of the World series! I have so many of those and do have the Italian one. It was probably the first series of cookbooks I collected. I’ve based bolognese out of there so many times.

  5. Oh Katie, how awful. I’ve had lots of those experiences only they involve cats and squirrels. But I bet your dog was proud of herself! And the bolognese looks wonderful.

  6. OK. I tried posting this comment twice yesterday, and the computer I was working on kept shutting off (I have a new one now). Here goes nothing…
    Your story reminds me of a scene in a French movie (My Life as a Dog, maybe?) wherein a little city boy goes to live on a farm. One day he sees a rabbit hanging up outside, and the woman of the house, while cutting and then pulling the fur on the carcass, tells him, “See? This is how we take off Mr. Bunny’s pajamas” or words to that effect!
    I agree with you about Bolognese sauce. It’s one of my most favorite sauces to make, and yours looks gorgeous. And homemade pasta, too? You’re out of control.

  7. Oh, I would have been very sad, too. But you had me all worked up to see Bolognese sauce made with rabbit! 🙂 I love rabbit, too, but I probably couldn’t have eaten it either. Great bolognese sauce!

  8. Tanna, I like rabbit and fix it occasionally. It’s always available in the supermarkets…but then I don’t have to skin it… I think the T.L. were my first, also…
    Tigerfish, those young steers come running whenever they hear or see anything… at a full gallop!
    Pam, when we had a cat there were always have eaten squirrels in the garden… We have no squirrels here. Apparently they were all eaten during the war.
    Lisa, that’s a scream! I have to find the movie… It’s the first time I’ve made pasta in a few years… I have to admit I may make it more often now that I have refreshed my taste buds!
    Jeni, sorry, I’m not that self-sufficient. I even made mon mari get rid of it…
    Susan, me either. I can face them with a camera…not a skinning knife!

  9. Bunnies are such pernicious pests that God made them cute and furry so we wouldn’t slaughter them on sight.
    Lovely home-made pasta! I just got a pasta roller and have been having such fun doing noodles.

  10. Most gardeners who have been plagued with rabbits this past summer would be applauding your dog and asking if they could bore Sedi! I’ve never had rabbit problems so I still see them as being cute little critters. Unless I was starving, I don’t think I could eat rabbit that I saw killed (same goes for any meat or fowl too).
    This recipe looks delicious with all sorts of good flavours. Perfect for this time of the year!

  11. So so sorry about that. It is fun to be chase away bunnies and squirrels in the garden, but then when they bite the dust by our own pets, it is no fun.

  12. Katie, that is an amasing shot you took about your “neighbors”! And I still can’t take my eye off the landscaping in your area, gorgeous!
    My old dog was German descent, loved to “hunt” too, even in a city *sigh*

  13. I actually laughed out loud (before I cried for the poor bunny) at THE EVENT. Very funny post, Katie. Yes, excellent shot of the “boys,” too. We have bunnies on our little hill, and every once in a while, on a winter night, I will look out the side door and see one huddle down under the mock orange bush, a sentry of the night. I think he watches over us. We’ve had them for years. No dogs though!

  14. oh, my gawd ~this is right out of a movie! The poor bunnie screaming ~I had a snake scream at me one time. Long story, another time.We do not have many rabbits here where I live in Florida. I would be sad to see the poor thing killed, but, that is nature playing out its role.The bolognese looked wonderful ~one of my favorite pasta dishes! p.s. did i tell you I want to move to France? More bunnies over there……

  15. Lynn, Is THAT why they’re so damn cute! Now I understand! (The other one dug up some daffodils yesterday…. SEDI, get to work)
    Kate, they are cute. One of them was hiding behind a pipe the other day…soooo cute! Sooo little and cuddly…bwaaaa
    Lannae, yeah, I always tell the girls to ‘get the bunnies’ – I never thought they actually could!
    Kevin, all of the vegetables just add such lovely layers of flavor…thanks!
    Gattina, I do have rather handsome neighbors, don’t I?
    Mimi, I think Sedi was as surprised as Iwas that she actually caught one! We had them in Minnesota, too and they were so pretty – esp., as you said, on those gorgeous, white, winter moonlit nights!
    Jann, we have lots of bunnies…no squirrels, though. Bunnies make an amazingly, piercing, heart-rending cry..
    Bolognese – Good! Let me know when you’re moving…

  16. I know how you felt. I had a gopher that was laying siege to my garden. I was so angry at the damage he did. But, I was upset when the neighbor killed him. Oh well! The sauce looks marvelous!
    OK, now what if I have real skeletons in my pantry…….

  17. I don’t know which I enjoy more…your stories or your recipes. Poor bunny, bravo Sedi!
    Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta NIghts.

  18. Sher, I real conundrum, isn’t it! I want them gone…but I’d really rather have them pack their little suitcases and call the moving van and move to the woods across the road… Real skeletons? I do believe that would qualify….tell!
    Ruth, Sedi looked so proud….and amazed!

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