Everyone, and I mean everyone, has a favourite recipe for Bolognese. Whether this is one that your Nonna used to cook, or it's been handed down from generation to generation, or it is one that you just made up but you know it tastes good. To be perfectly honest all Bolognese is good and is considered one of the ultimate comfort foods when served with perfectly cooked pasta and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Right?
Traditionally this typical Italian dish, origin the city of Bologna, Ragù alla Bolognese is a slowly cooked sauce, with ingredients which include sauteing a mixture of onions, carrots and celery (known as a soffritto), different types of minced or finely chopped beef, often alongside small amounts of fatty pork. To the meat and vegetable mixture often wine, milk, tomato paste or tomatoes are added, and then, with patience, the dish is then gently simmered at length to produce a thick sauce. The pasta traditionally served is Tagliatelle, or any flat long pasta.
Fast forward to today as this traditional dish is now often referred to as "Spag Bol" and is usually accompanied by spaghetti - a slurp-able long (tubular not flat) pasta. For such a simple dish there are so many different ways of cooking and serving this meal. Do you add more vegetables to the sauce? What herbs do you use? What meat? Do you serve the pasta and the sauce seperate? Do you mix it in? What pasta do you prefer? So many questions - I feel like a police woman LOL!
To be honest this is one dish we often vary. Tonight we made a beef sauce, with limited vegetables and herbs - I guess you could say it was a "plain Jane" version, then mixed the pasta with the sauce to create a one pot wonder for the table, where everyone helped themselves. The pasta, Rigatoni, yes tubular but on grand width scale and much shorter.
However you cook/serve this dish - this basic recipe is easy, full of flavour and will please even your fussiest of diners - don't forget the garlic bread!
(recipe adapted from ww Comfort Food Cookbook)
💚 8 sp per serve
💙 8 sp per serve
💜 8 sp per serve
1 brown onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stick celery, finely diced
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
500 grams extra lean beef mince
2 teaspoons crushed garlic
2 x 400 gram can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves
1 cup (250 ml) beef stock
1/2 cup (125 ml) red wine
freshly ground black pepper
250 grams pasta of your choice (we used Gluten Free)
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
fresh basil leaves, to garnish
Lightly spray a large non stick frying pan or saucepan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat.
Add onion, carrot, celery and fennel seeds and cook for 6 - 8 minutes or until vegetables are softened.
Add mince, breaking up lumps with a spoon, cooking for 5 minutes or until browned.
Add garlic and cook for a further 1 minute.
Add tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, bay leaves, beef stock and red wine. Mix well to combine.
Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 40 minutes, or until sauce is thick. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Cook pasta as per packet directions. Drain.
Mix pasta through sauce mixture and scatter with basil leaves. Serve with Parmesan Cheese. Alternatively serve sauce, scattered with basil, and pasta separately along with Parmesan Cheese.