I’ve been home alone for several days. Times like that call for lots of restaurant visits or eating out of cans and making a lot of popcorn. They are also times to toss together whatever leftovers there are in the refrigerator before it’s time to toss them out permanently. This recipe is inspired by that latter need. It turned out to be a fair approximation of the real thing, but I am certain that Marcella Hazan is looking down and howling with disdain. This recipe should serve one or two persons.
Bogus Spaghetti Bolognese
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 rib celery, diced
- 8 peeled “baby” carrots, cut crosswise in thin coins
- 4 medium crimini mushrooms, sliced
- ½ cup packaged diced boneless ham
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup dry white vermouth
- 1 cup mixed vegetable juice (V-8 or equivalent)
- 8 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- good pinch of sugar
- 1/3 to 1/2 pound of dry spaghetti
- Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent but not browned. Stir in the celery and carrots. Sauté for another 5 minutes. Then stir in the mushroom and ham, continuing to cook until the mushrooms are soft.
- Stir in the milk and bring to a low boil. Cook until the milk has been almost completely reduced, but be careful not to burn. Stir in the vermouth and simmer until the wine has almost completely reduced.
- Stir in the tomato juice and tomatoes. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Stir in the nutmeg and sugar. Simmer for another 15 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and slightly falling apart. If needed, add more liquid.
- While the tomatoes are simmering, cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water. Cook to al dente, about 10 to 12 minutes. With tongs or a spaghetti tool, transfer the strands of cooked spaghetti directly into the sauce, mixing thoroughly until the ratio of sauce and pasta is to your taste.
- Top with grated Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.