Spaghetti Bolognese is known and loved by many around the world. It is quintessential to many dishes like tagliatelle al ragu the Bolognese iconic dish, wonderful on baked potatoes, a truly memorable lasagne can only be made from an equally incredible Bolognese sauce. If you jump across to Greece, moussaka a dish made from layers of eggplant and yes … bolognese sauce. As you can see, making a truly incredible bolognese sauce should be part of everyones cooking repertoire.
The flavour is achieved by the quality and combination of ingredients going into the base sauce. The Bolognese is a type of ragu a slow simmered sauce of minced beef, onion, carrots, tomatoes and wine. Lets be clear a traditional ragu is made from different cuts of meat ( liver, bacon, chuck meat etc ) along with tomatoes and a little milk. Here, we won’t use these cuts of meat but will use lean beef mince, vegetables and herbs which make up the base and will form the stock.
Prep | 15 minutes
Cooking Time | 1 1/2 hours
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 brown onion finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 small carrot finely chopped
- 1/2 cup finely chopped flat leafed parsley
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 500g lean beef mince
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 x 400g tin cherry tomatoes ( mutti-pomadoro brand used here )
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 cup stock
- 1 cup hot liquid reserved from the boiled pasta
- 1 packet tagliatelle or spaghetti of your choice
- sea salt and cracked pepper to taste
- shaved parmesan to taste
Place your pasta in salty boiling water and cook until al dente for approximately 10-15 minutes. Follow packet directions. Strain, rinse in cold water and reserve 1 cup of the liquid.
The trick to the perfect sauce for your pasta is to reserve some of the liquid from your pasta and incorporate into your sauce. This is the magic liquid – pasta water is the liquid gold which helps to marry and set the Bolognese sauce. Many years ago, I was watching Italian Chef Giorgio Locatelli make an incredible pasta dish. He casually mentioned this little secret and have not turned back since once I tried it myself.
Before you start, make sure your onions, garlic, carrot and parsley are very finely chopped.
Heat a deep saucepan over high heat. Add olive oil and the mince and cook for five minutes breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon.
Add onion, garlic and carrot , stir through until they become transparent and soft.
Add the tomato paste and cook , stir to combine well.
Add the wine, stir until it reduces and the alcohol has evaporated.
Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, cinnamon leaf , half the parsley, stock, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Bring these ingredients to a boil, then reduce the heat so the sauce gently simmers.
Simmer for 1 hour, then add reserved liquid from pasta and simmer for another half hour till the sauce has reduced and thickened. If the sauce is reducing quickly, your heatmay be too high and perhaps place the lid of the saucepan on top part way to allow some steam to escape. Don’t place the lid to seal the saucespan as the liquid will spill over. Watch, the quantity of liquid add a little hot water at a time if needed. Don’t serve immediately if you have just added a little extra water somewhere along the way of the cooking. Allow the water to simmer .
You can either mix the spaghetti with the Bolognese sauce and then serve on a large serving dish with slathers of parmesan and sprinkling the reseved parsley or serve the spaghetti in individual dishes , and with a large serving spoon pick up equal portions of mince and not forgetting to also pour the tomato sauce over. Sprinkle with cheese and herbs.