Spaghetti bolognese is a favourite dinner time meal loved throughout the world. It can be a simple as browning the mince and adding some bottled sauce, but just once I’d like you to try this traditional version. Trust me, it’s the best.
Italy’s most loved but misinterpreted dish has to be tagliatelle al ragu. When it left Italy’s shores it somehow becomes spaghetti bolognese. The real bolognese dish is made by tossing a little rich, slow-cooked ragu (a meat sauce, usually veal and pork) through fresh egg noodles.
There’s a number of tricks to an outstanding ragu sauce. First, you really need to let it simmer for a good 3 hours to allow all the flavours to meld together and fill your house with divine smells. A dash of milk is added to the ragu sauce to cut the acidity of the tomatoes and wine. It’s worth using good quality mince, wine and stock.
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 carrot finely chopped or grated
90g pancetta or bacon, finely chopped
220g minced ground veal or beef
220g minced ground pork
2 sprigs of oregano, chopped or 1/4 tsp dried oregano
pinch of nutmeg
½ cup dry white wine
3/4 cup milk, or soy milk
400g tin chopped tomatoes or fresh
250ml beef stock
400g tagliatelle or spaghetti pasta
grated Parmesan cheese
- Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the onion, celery, carrot and pancetta. Cook over a moderate heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- Add the minced beef, pork and oregano to the saucepan. Season with salt and pepper and the nutmeg. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the mince has browned slightly.
- Pour in the wine, increase the heat and boil over high heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the wine has been absorbed. Stir in the milk and reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the tomato and half the stock, partially cover the pan and leave to simmer gently over very low heat for 3 hours. Add more of the stock as it is needed to keep the sauce moist.
- Meanwhile, cook the tagliatelle (or spaghetti) in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta, toss with the sauce and serve with grated Parmesan.
Variation: These aren’t traditional variations, but if you’d like the meal to go further add a can of beans. You could also add any extra vegetables (grated) that you might have in the fridge or the garden.