Recipe by Chris.
For one of my first recipes on our brand spanking new food blog, I decided to go with my all time favourite dish, popular all over the globe; Spaghetti Bolognese (or Spag Bol as my British friends call it). Yes, I know that Italian chefs the world over are shaking their fists at me for this bastardisation of a northern Italian classic, but I simply prefer spaghetti over the classic Tagliatelle used in Bologna. Now while I do use Spaghetti, I do like to make the Bolognese sauce just like (someones) mamma does in Italy, the traditional way. In Italy they tend to use pancetta and olive oil, but I live in the UK, where pancetta can be hard to find and good quality olive oil is very expensive, don’t use cheap olive oil as it will ruin the flavour, I have substituted these ingredients for streaky rashers and rapeseed oil and the results are just as good, if not better.
With regards to the meat, if you struggle to find minced pork, lamb works too, or you can even go all beef. Just make sure you have a kg of mince meat in total.
500g Beef mince meat
500g Pork mince meat
4 medium carrots – chopped as finely as possible
7 sticks of celery – chopped as finely as possible
10 streaky bacon rashers – chopped as finely as possible
3 medium white onions – chopped as finely as possible
4 cloves garlic– chopped as finely as possible
750ml bottle of red wine – a Spanish Rioja is best but any red will do the trick
3 tins chopped tomatoes
3 dried bay leaves
3 tablespoons rapeseed oil
½ a heaped teaspoon of salt
1 heaped teaspoon of black pepper
1 cup grated parmesan or cheddar cheese
500g Dried Spaghetti
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 3 hours
Serves: 4 people (There is actually enough sauce for 8 people, but I recommend freezing half for another day, if you are feeding 8 people in one sitting make sure to make 1kg of spaghetti instead of the 500g in the recipe)
1. Pour 250ml of red wine into a glass and reserve the other 500ml in the bottle.
2. Drink the glass of wine as you are following the next steps (III) to (IV).
3. Heat a large heavy lidded pan on a medium to high heat, add the oil, chopped bacon and bay leaves and keep stirring until the bacon is turning slightly brown and a little crispy, don’t overdo it, around 5 minutes should be enough, make sure not to burn it.
4. Add the chopped onions, carrot and celery and fry, stirring every few minutes until softened and just starting to brown, 10 - 15 minutes roughly.
5. Add the Garlic, stir it through and fry for 1 minute.
6. Add both of the meats and continue to cook, stirring every few minutes until the meat is completely browned.
7. Add the salt and pepper.
8. Add the reserved 500ml of wine to the pot.
9. You have probably drank your glass of wine at this stage so you might want to crack open another bottle if you have it and pour yourself a glass.
10. Once the wine has cooked down by about half add the chopped tomatoes and stir.
11. Turn the heat down to low, put on the lid and cook for 2 ½ hours, stirring every 10 – 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it and if it starts to stick or burn add a splash of water.
12. 15 minutes before the meat is ready, cook your spaghetti as per the packet instructions, drain and return to the pot.
13. Add half of the pasta sauce to the spaghetti pot and stir through. You can freeze the other half of the sauce and save it for another day.
14. Leave the pasta sitting in the pot for 5 minutes with the lid on and then you are ready to eat.
15. Serve on plates and throw a bit of the grated cheese over the top.