Bolognese Sauce

January 27, 2012 — Leave a comment

P1000540The first thing I can remember having a hand at cooking was crepes, a noteworthy dessert in our household, but I was still a foot short of the stovetop so not heavily involved other than in the pouring.

Apart from two minute noodles though, my first real attempt at cooking was spaghetti bolognese, a staple of first year uni, along with sausages and mashed potato, and when I ran out of cash, cheese and bread.  There was another Mexican themed number that required two cans of coke to finish, but its ingredients shall remain in the distant past where it belongs.  Since then, I’ve made spaghetti bolognese many a time and only recently re-discovered what a ‘long-form’ one tastes like.  While you can knock one up pretty quickly, (which still tastes ok), if you can spare the time, this is a fantastic pasta dish with great flavour.

There are many ways and many recipes for a bolognese sauce – I like to slowly reduce the liquids to intensify the flavour, but if you can’t spare the time remove the wine and rather than simmer, reduce by keeping it on a high heat.  Same goes for the carrot and celery, you can dice and sauté without mashing them up, I just prefer not to see them in the final sauce.


600g beef mince (can half and  half with pork mince, but I find it can dry out)

1x large brown onion

3x cloves garlic crushed

2x rasher bacon or 25g pancetta

1x carrot

1x stalk celery

2x tsp dried oregano

2x tbs tomato paste

1x cup beef stock

2x cans diced tomato

1x cup red wine

400g spaghetti or tagliatelle

100g parmigiano reggiano

Butter, olive oil, extra virgin olive oil


Quarter the carrot and boil for approx 8 minutes till soft

Finely dice the celery, bacon, and onion, crush the garlic

Mash the carrot once soft

Using a large pan on a medium heat, add bacon and cook for approx 5 mins till fat rendered

Add carrot and celery, cook for approx 4 mins

Add the onion and garlic, a pinch of salt and the oregano, cook till translucent

Brown off the meat, using a wooden spoon to break up

Add tomato paste, combine, and cook for 1-2 minutes

Add wine, reduce by half

Add stock, canned tomato, and 1/4 can water gathering residual sauce from the cans

Bring to boil then reduce heat, simmer, further reducing the liquid to a third – will take at least an hour

Season to taste, stir through half of the parmesan and a good knob of butter and remove from heat

Salted water for pasta, cook till al dente

Add pasta to sauce and also add a cup of the water from the pasta pot

If you don’t want to mix the pasta with the sauce, drain and coat with extra virgin olive oil, plate up and pour the sauce over it

Serve with glass of red, nice bread, remaining parmesan and swirl of extra virgin olive oil

Total time: 3 hours

Feeds: 4  (2 on the Chowd’s scale)



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