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Our President’s Day Dinner Menu Will Help You Survive February

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To us, President’s Day—apart from being George Washington’s birthday—signifies that we’re halfway through February, but still have a ways to go with dreary, winter weather. We’re staying sane this February by huddling together with friends and family, ensuring our days are warm, cozy, and joyful. Spend a cold day staying in, and whip up this warming, hearty three course meal together. With homemade pasta, fondue and brownies, you won’t even be thinking about how many days are left until Spring.

Two-Hour Bolognese with Homemade Pasta Rags

INGREDIENTS (Bolognese)
2 carrots
1 stalk celery
1 yellow onion
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces ground veal
8 ounces ground pork
8 ounces ground beef
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup white wine
4 cups beef or chicken stock
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 ½ cups whole milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

INGREDIENTS (Pasta Rags)
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS
Halve the carrots and celery lengthwise, then slice crosswise. Dice the onion. Drain the tomatoes. Lightly smash the garlic with the flat side of a knife and peel. Leave 2 cloves whole and mince 2 cloves.

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the carrots, celery, onion, and minced garlic and cook until very soft, about 10 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Heat another tablespoon of the olive oil in the same pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add the smashed garlic cloves and cook until golden, about 2 minutes. Remove and discard.

Add the veal, pork, and beef and season well with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until the meat loses its color and the liquid is mostly evaporated, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stir to combine, and cook until brick ride, about 2 minutes. Add the white wine and bring to a simmer. Cook until reduced by three-fourths, about 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, stock, thyme, and sauteed vegetables. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

When the Bolognese is thick, add the milk, increase the heat to medium, and simmer until the milk is completely absorbed and the sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes longer. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

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In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and ½ teaspoon salt. Make a well in the center and add the whole eggs, egg yolks, and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Using your hands, begin to incorporate the flour into the yolks, mixing until thoroughly combined. Turn out the dough onto a dry, lightly floured surface. Using your hands, knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat for the pasta.

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Return the ball of dough to a lightly dusted surface and cut into 1-inch wide slabs. Working with one slab at a time, flatten with a rolling pin and stretch, then fold, letter-style, into thirds. Roll out with a rolling pin until almost paper thin. Cut the sheets into 1-inch-wide strips and arrange in a single layer on a flour-dusted baking sheet as they’re finished.

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Add the rags and a generous pinch of salt to the boiling water. Cook until just al dente, about 4 minutes. Drain, drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, then allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

To reheat, add the Bolognese to a medium sauté pan over medium heat and cook to warm through. When the Bolognese is hot, add the pasta rags and stir to warm through. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

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Fondue

INGREDIENTS
1 clove garlic
1 cup White wine
Gruyere – 1 pound, shredded
Ementhaler – ½ pound, shredded
1 Lemon
1 tablespoon Kirsch
1 pinch Nutmeg
1 baguette, cut into 1-inch cubes
Vegetables: Cherry tomatoes, green beans, fingerling potatoes (all boiled)

INSTRUCTIONS
Rub the inside of a small pot with garlic. Discard the garlic. Add wine and juice of 1 lemon and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Slowly whisk in the cheese until smooth. Add kirsch and nutmeg. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

Brownies

INGREDIENTS (Adapted from Ina’s ‘Outrageous Brownies’)
2 sticks unsalted butter (1 cup)
14 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 eggs
1.5 tablespoons instant coffee
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
.5 cup + 2 tablespoons AP flour
.5 tablespoon baking powder
.5 teaspoon salt
1.5 cups chopped walnuts

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour a 12 x 18 x 1-inch baking sheet.

Melt together the butter, chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1/2 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and chocolate chips in a medium bowl with the remaining 2 tablespoons flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the baking sheet.

Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into 20 large squares.

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