Spaghetti Bolognese

What a joy this dish is to make being so easy and so tasty. For some people, making this dish without using a packet or a jar sauce seems far too difficult sometimes but it is so easy to make using fresh ingredients.

This is one of the most classic dishes in Italian cooking. It is known globally, and I would have expected that nearly everyone on the globe has tried this dish. I have tried to make this as easy as possible by doing one task at a time but you can reduce the time it takes to do this if you are skilled with multi tasking in a kitchen.

Usually in the summer time I will have some fresh tomatoes growing that I will use to make the sauce but in this case I had to opt for a tin of chopped tomatoes because we are still in the middle of winter.

I have included pepper in this recipe, however by any Italian standard pepper is absolutely not used in bolognese. But I like it, so I have put it in 🙂

This will serve 2 – 3 people and you can serve with garlic bread.

Ingredients

  • 500g of mince/ground beef
  • 1-2 portions of dried spaghetti pasta
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1-2 tablespoons of mixed herbs
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 1/2 a red pepper (optional)
  • Olive Oil for cooking

Its all about preparation

There are 3 phases to this dish:

  • Cooking the meat
  • Cooking the main dish
  • Cooking the pasta

Obtain all of the ingredients.

When you have everything ready we can start by cooking the meat. Obtain a medium sized saucepan, put it on a medium heat and empty in the beef.

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The aim is to cook the meat and drain the fat. Keep it on a medium heat and use a wooden spoon to keep stirring until it is brown. We don’t want any part of the meat to burn. It will take about 10 minutes to fully cook the mince beef. While this is cooking, lets chop up the veg.

Finely chop the onion and garlic. Roughly chop the pepper if you have one.

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Boil the kettle and place the stock cube into a mug, fill the mug halfway with the boiling water and stir until dissolved. IMG_8096

Use a large wok and place in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil into the pan and turn on a high heat.

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While this is warming, the beef should be cooked. Use the lid for the saucepan and drain the beef fat into a container.

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This will be discarded. Now the beef should be very lean.

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Place the onions into the wok with the olive oil.

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Fry for a few minutes until they are soft and then add the garlic.

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Keep stirring and cook the garlic for about 2 minutes then add the beef.

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Mix all of this together then add the tomatoes.

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Keep stirring. If there are any tomatoes which are stuck to the side of the tin then place a small amount of water in the tin and swish it around then add the liquid to the wok.

Add the beef stock mixture, ensuring there is no stock left behind.

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Give it a good stir, then add the mixed herbs.

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Now I have used basic, oregano and thyme here but you can always add something such as chilli to give it a bit of a kick.

Mix the herbs into the dish and finally add the honey. Season with salt and pepper.

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Leave to simmer for about 10-15 minutes. The longer you leave it to simmer, the tender the meat will be and the more flavour you will get but anything around 15 minutes is fine for me.

While this is simmering, lets cook the pasta. Add some water to a wide pan along with a pinch of salt making sure the pan is about 2/3 full of water.

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When the water has boiled, place in the pasta.

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After a few minutes the edges will be soft to allow you to transfer all of the pasta to the water.

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Bring it to the boil and let it cook away. Make sure you retain enough water in the pan.

While the pasta is cooking, check the bolognese and add the peppers. It should look something like this:

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Now the most important bit. Choosing the wine.

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Depend on your taste you may choose to go with a different type of wine. Of course it has to be red.

The left wine is Italian and a very rich full bodied wine. The middle, is very fruity and slightly sweet from Australia. The right is a very rich mellow and smooth wine from France. I opted with the middle wine because I like the fruits in it, plus its one of my favourites anyway. I actually love the one on the right too but I am down to my last 3 bottles and I don’t want to drink them all yet.

When you have decided which wine you want the pasta should be cooked and you are now ready to serve.

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Enjoy !

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