Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Bolognese Is So Worth It!
by SuSu, Wraith6

Han knew immediately that Luke had found Callista ... and that he was ready to — at last — let her go. He didn't need to ask. He knew from the way he walked, the dull look in his eyes, the hollow feeling the younger man emanated, and his complete lack of interest in anything (including food).

He was taking Luke to Coruscant, but even in the confines of the ship, Han chose not to strike up a conversation with the morose man. Let Luke mull things over for himself ... and in the meantime, Han would attend to dinner.

Han chopped up aromatic vegetables in an old (and clean) engine fan so he got a rough paste, then he cooked it with some oil between some exhaust tubes in a pot he'd salvaged from some engine restoration work he and Chewbacca had done long ago. Then he deliberately turned the vent fans on full and opened the filters headed toward Luke's area of the ship.

He also ground up some bantha meat, opened a tin of tomato paste, and scorched the food, letting it cook slowly and deliberately, then deglazing it with a cheap and robust red wine. The smells of the deliberately and nearly burnt concoction was savory and tasty, and it even drove the carnivorous Wookie co-pilot wild! But still, no stirring from Luke.

Sighing that he was wasting his time trying to draw the Jedi out, Han at least consoled himself that he'd made a good sauce. But what to eat it with?

"Spaghetti," answered Luke without prompting, as he entered the engine room where Han was making dinner. "You bastard! I tried ... I meditated ... but I ... I can't resist any longer! Finish the sauce!"

Han grinned mischieviously. "Another hour ... it has to develop more flavor ... and I didn't want to bring this up, kid ... but the sauce has to 'marry' the spaghetti ..."

Luke groaned. "I'm SO over her, Han. And you know why ..."

"Yeah," he older man giggled, "because if you have friends, who needs women?"

"No," disagreed Luke, "because if I hadn't suffered this, I never would have known you could cook this darned sauce! If I have to have a broken heart to get this, it's completely worth it. Is it ready yet?"

  • 2 onions
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 head celery
  • 1 head garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • 3 pounds ground beef (90% lean)
  • 2 cups tomato paste
  • 1 bottle red wine
  • water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • spaghetti (about 5 lbs for all the sauce)
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
Roughly cut the onions, carrots, celery, garlic and place in a food processor. Pulse to form a rough mixture. Heat enough olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan to coat. When hot, add the chopped vegetables and cook over medium heat. There will be a lot of steam as the water in the vegetables evaporates. Add salt to season heavily. Let the vegetables cook till it sticks to the bottom of the pan to form a crust. Without letting it burn, let it cook, scraping it up off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, and continue cooking till the vegetables are cooked thoroughly and browned.

Add the ground beef to the vegetables to the pan, break it up and mix with the cooked vegetables. Allow to cook in the same way, letting the beef cook and brown. The water in the meat will cause the mixture to stew until it evaporates. The meat will dry and become granular, and will eventually stick to the bottom of the pan to brown. Scrape it up and turn the meat to let it brown thoroughly.

Add the tomato paste to the pan, and mix thoroughly with the browned meat and vegetables. Brown this mixture, letting the tomato paste nearly-burn before scraping it up and turning it. Add salt when mixing.

Add the wine, using it to deglaze the pan and work any stuck bits up with your wooden spoon. Blend with the browned mixture, and let it cook, with stirring, till the mixture is thickened and stiff. Remove at least half of the sauce from the pot.

Add enough hot water to the pan to fill it to about an inch above the meat mixture. Stir together to combine, and let the water evaporate till the mixture gets stiff again. Add more water and repeat. Do this two or three times, scraping the mixture up from the bottom of the pan. You want to end up with a rich, meaty stew, rather than a thin spaghetti sauce.

Boil water to cook the dried spaghetti, and make sure to add plenty of salt to the water. Cook the spaghetti in plenty of water, and drain out the water before the pasta is quite done.

Add the almost-cooked pasta to the meat sauce in the pan, tossing with a bit of the starchy hot pasta water if the mixture is too stiff. This is referred to as "the marriage" of the pasta and sauce. Add parmesan cheese to help bind the ingredients.

One lb / 450 g of spaghetti will serve 4 to 6; the whole recipe can serve up to 30!

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