Maccheroni Alla Bolognese

Maccheroni bolognese style

For the dish, the Bolognese use medium-size "denti di cavallo" ("horse teeth") whose shape, I would agree, is best suited to make this recipe. Make sure, however, to roll out the dough quite thick when you make this pasta, so that it will not get damaged while boiling. The Tuscans seem not to take sufficient precautions in this regard. Due to their preference for light food, they have developed varieties of pasta they call genteel, with large holes and thin walls, which hardly remain firm during cooking and collapse when boiled – something that is as unpleasant to see as it is to eat. 

As everybody knows, the best pastas to use are those made of durum wheat. These can easily be identified because of their natural waxy color. Avoid yellow pastas, which are made from ordinary wheat and then colored to mask the lower quality. In the past, mostly harmless substances like saffron and crocus were used, while today an artificial dye in employed.

The following amounts should be more or less enough to make a sauce for 500 grams (about 1 pound) of pasta and maybe a little more.

Cut the meat into little cubes and mince the bacon and the herbs finely with a mezzaluna. put all the main ingredients on the fire with butter. When the meat has browned, add the pinch of flour and then cook in broth until done.

Drain the macaroni well; flavor them with this sauce and Parmesan cheese. The sauce can be made even tastier by adding small pieces of dried mushroom, a few truffle slices, or a chicken liver cooked with the meat and cut into tiny chunks. 

When everything has been combined together, and the sauce is completely done, you can add as a final touch half a glass of cream - this will make an even more delicate dish. Remember, in any case, that the macaroni should not be served to dry, but rather well coated in sauce. 

As we are speaking of pasta, a few remarks come to mind. Pasta must not be overcooked; but let us meditate a little on this. If the pasta is al dente, it will be more pleasant to the taste and more easily digested. This may seem paradoxical, but so it is, for when overcooked and not sufficiently chewed, it goes down a lump, weighs heavily on the stomach and becomes an indigestible mass.

Whereas, when it can only be chewed, the mastification produces saliva, which contains an enzyme called ptyalin, and this enzyme helps to break down the starch, turning it into sugar and dextrin.

Saliva has a very important physiological function not only because it helps to soften and break down food, but because it facilitates swallowing. Furthermore, its alkaline nature promotes the secretion of gastric juices in the stomach while the food is being swallowed. For this reason, nursemaids are right to engage in that disgusting practice of pre-chewing mouthfuls of food for little babies.

It is said that the Neapolitans, great consumers of pasta, always drink a glass of water with it to aid digestion. I do not know if in this case the water acts as a solvent, or if it is helpful because it is easier on the stomach than the glass of wine or similar substance which it replaces.

When it is larger and longer than the one used in this recipe, horse teeth pasta is called "cannelloni" in Tuscany and "buconotti" or "strozzapreti" elsewhere in Italy.