I’ve recently returned to Michigan after a few years in New York working in the music business…specifically as a publicist for independent record labels and artists. Part of my job is doing blog outreach—making sure writers and bloggers get records, video, tickets to shows and the like…so it seems like a natural progression for me to employ this same strategy with food blogs and Al Dente Pasta!

Recently I came across a fantastic music blog based in San Francisco called eating/sf…and coincidentally, they also post about my other favorite passion: FOOD! In fact, they create beautiful recipes then pair them up with appropriate music, which doubles the pleasure. So immediately we went ahead and sent along a case of Al Dente pasta so they could work their mojo on it.

The result of their first effort using our Al Dente Whole Wheat Fettuccine? “A Quasi Bolognese with Tomatoes.

As for the musical pairing, here’s a link for a listen to Raphael Saadiq “The Way I See It.”

Quasi Pasta Bolognese (via eating/sf)
Quasi Pasta Bolognese (via eating/sf)

“Bolognese is a traditional Italian meat sauce for pasta. It’s awesome with linguine and papardelle–wide, long and sticky noodles that absorb the flavor of the sauce and trap bits of chunk amongst their layers. The traditional bolognese–according to my Silver Spoon cookbook, at least–does not contain any tomatoes (only tomato paste), but does include celery and carrots. When it comes to pasta sauces, I’m not one to stick to the recipe, and I tend to pledge my allegiance to tomatoes, especially in a hearty, beefy concoction.

A few weeks ago, the lovely folks at Al Dente Pasta in Michigan sent Matt and I some of their fettuccine pasta in flavors such as Wild Mushroom, Squid Ink, and Straw and Hay to try. All of the pastas cook in 3-4 minutes flat–imagine that!

One thing I managed to bring back with me from Denver was a cold, so on a particularly lazy evening, wrapped in a quasi-Snuggie, we decided to whip up a quasi-bolognese with some whole wheat fettuccine from Al Dente. The meal came together quickly–and in 1 skillet and a pot, no less. Suddenly, my kitchen table felt like a little corner in a Tuscan trattoria. I’ve only tried Al Dente’s whole wheat flavor, but now I can’t wait to give the others a go–especially the squid ink (I’m already dreaming up recipes). My bowl of pasta tasted like it had been hand-made by an Italian grandmother in my kitchen. You could use any brand of medium-wide pasta for this dish, but I especially enjoyed the nuttiness of the whole wheat against the beef.”

Click here to read the entire post.

Quasi-Bolognose with Tomatoes
* serves 2, with leftovers

2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
2 rounded teaspoons of tomato paste
1 onion, diced
4-5 campari tomatoes, quartered
pinch or two of dried oregano
pinch or two of dried thyme
pinch or two of red chili flakes
A few leaves of fresh basil leaves, torn
1/2 pound of good quality ground beef
salt and pepper to taste
8-10 ounces of whole wheat fettuccine or pappardelle (we used Al Dente brand)
Parmesan, to serve

1. Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet. Start by sauteing the onion with the beef and garlic over medium-low heat. Season with salt and pepper. About a minute in, add the tomato paste and continue to saute. Lower the heat as the beef starts to brown.
2. Throw in a few pinches of thyme, oregano and chili flakes (this is really to taste).
3. Continue to saute for a few minutes. Next, add the tomatoes and toss around with a wooden spoon.
4. Let the tomatoes cook down, but not until they are completely part of the sauce. Toss in some torn fresh basil leaves.
5. In the meantime, boil the pasta for about 4 minutes.
6. Drain (don’t rinse), toss into the still warm cooking sauce. Toss to combine pasta with the sauce.
7. Sprinkle with Parmesan to serve. When I say sprinkle, I usually mean dump about a 1/4 cup of grated cheese over each bowl.

Thanks so much to Kasey and Matthew! Can’t wait to see what kind of other creations you dream up!

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