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Ragu alla napoletana Meat Sauce from Naples

Serves 6                      

While the ragu from Bologna has meat and barely any tomato, this version from Naples is tomato sauce flavored with only a little meat.  Most Neapolitans cook the meat in the sauce, remove it, and serve it after the pasta.  But if you want the meat in the sauce, you can start with chopped meat, or you can chop the meat after it has been cooked and return it to the sauce as many Italian Americans do.  Neapolitans usually serve this sauce over ziti, but you can also use rigatoni or fusilli.

1/3 cup olive oil
1½ pounds beef brisket or chuck, in one piece
½ pound boneless veal shoulder, in one piece
½ pound boneless pork shoulder, in one piece
1 yellow onion, chopped
½ cup dry red wine
2 cans (28 ounces each) plum tomatoes with juice, chopped or pulsed in a food processor (Stetson note: San Marzano tomatoes)
Pinch of chile pepper flakes (optional)
Meat stock, if needed
Freshly ground black pepper

1 pound dried ziti, cooked
Grated pecorino cheese

In a large Dutch oven or deep skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat.  Add all the meats and sprinkle with salt.  When the meats have given up their juices, after about 15 minutes, add the onion and stir well.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meats are browned and the onion is golden.  This might take as long as 15 minutes.

Add the wine and cook until it is absorbed into the meats, about 10 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and the chile pepper flakes (if using) and stir well.  Cover partially and simmer, stirring often, for 2½ hours.  Check from time to time to see if more liquid is needed, adding stock or water if necessary to prevent scorching.  At this point, the sauce should be thick and the juices should coat a spoon.

Using a slotted spoon, remove the meat and reserve for another dish, or chop it and return it to the sauce.  Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.  Toss the sauce with the pasta and serve.  Pass the cheese at the table.

WINE:  Stay local with an Aglianico from Campania.  Look for Taurasi from Mastroberardino or Feudi San Gregorio.

From Italian Slow and Savory by Joyce Goldstein

Category:Battersea Confidential -- posted at: 9:28am PDT

The List of Fifteen 1.   Alabama
2.   Arizona
3.   Arkansas
4.   Florida
5.   Georgia
6.   Illinois
7.   Louisiana
8.   Mississippi
9.   Missouri
10. Nevada
11. North Carolina
12. Oklahoma
13. South Carolina
14. Utah
15. Virginia

The above list is certified factual and true.  Click here for further information.

Category:Battersea Confidential -- posted at: 10:29am PDT

Trotter Shots From the Logjam Saloon, as served by Lenny Schopenhauer (1939-1999)
(bar snack loved by the Chapman boys; not necessarily for everyone)

3 bite-size pieces of pickled pig's feet (Hormel or Faraon)
Hot sauce (Tabasco, Trappey's, Crystal, Cholula, Tapatio, El Pato, etc.)
One large glass of ice cold lager (Budweiser, Miller, Rainier, Pabst Blue Ribbon, etc.)
Napkins, towel, or Wetnaps

Fill 6 oz. glass or other small container with 3 bite-size pieces of pickled pig's feet.  If you have to cut them be careful; there may be bones.

Apply liberal dash of hot sauce (see above).

Put entire piece in mouth.

Spit out any bones.  

Take a large gulp of beer (see above).  


Great on a hot day.

Category:Battersea Confidential -- posted at: 8:32pm PDT

Ma Po Dofu for All! Many of you have expressed concern and/or outright puzzlement concerning Episode #2 and its manifold references to the Chinese dish Ma Po Dofu.  For edification and satiation we are including the following recipe - Gerard


3 tablespoons peanut oil
1/4 pound ground pork
1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped garlic or to taste
3 teaspoons hot bean sauce (or chili garlic sauce)
3 teaspoons black bean sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine
3/4 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
1 pound fresh soft bean curd (or medium or firm) cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup chopped scallions, including half of the green tops
Salt and ground Szechwan pepper to taste

(IMPORTANT NOTE: the Szechwan pepper tree, in China, has, in recent years, been infected with a canker of some kind, and the ban on importation of this beautiful spice has only recently been lifted.  As a result, do NOT roast the pepper, as is required in many recipes (because the pepper now has to be heat-treated before it leaves China.).  It can be added (and should be finely ground) to recipes, but usually near the end, or, at the very least, unroasted.)

In wok over high heat, heat the oil.  When hot, add meat, stir fry until lightly brown (2 minutes).
Add ginger, garlic, hot bean sauce and black bean sauce to taste.
Add rice wine and stir fry for 20 seconds.
Pour in stock, bring to boil.  Simmer, stirring frequently 3 to 4 minutes to blend flavors.
Add cornstarch and cook, stirring slowly until thickened (about a minute.)
Fold in bean curd and green onions. 
Heat gently, seasoning with salt.
Transfer to warm bowl, season generously with Szechwan pepper and serve immediately.

Category:Battersea Confidential -- posted at: 8:47am PDT

My Town's Name by Stetson Tudd My town's name is Battersea, roughly 39 miles south of Seattle, and, strangely, with a population the size of Tacoma's my neighbor 2 miles to the south.  Oddly, we show up on no maps, even though we are the sixth largest seaport in the contiguous U.S.  We are an hermetically sealed, sometimes racist, always hard working, hardscrabble community, pretending, occasionally to be hip, always failing at that, with nary much in the way of culture.  We were poised to be the largest city in the Northwest, until the Great Northern Railway blasted its way through Stevens Pass, in the Cascade Mountains north of Seattle, back in the late 19th century.    Put us almost out of business, and definitely out of the way.  Not irrelevant.  Just hardworking and sleepy at the same time.

Category:Battersea Confidential -- posted at: 11:00am PDT