Best Bolognaise Sauce Recipe!
I’ve been cooking Spag Bol for what seems like an eternity! We never tire of this amazingly versatile sauce, it’s definitely a ‘go-to’ comfort food not to mention the basis of some amazing family favourites. This hearty, rich, meaty, red sauce is just the best! Why? Because having been taught the technique by an Italian cook, I think this is a fail-safe method…
It’s very much about the technique. The two golden rules are; brown the meat really well then slow cook the sauce for a long time… about an hour. By-the-way, no garlic, zucchini, mushrooms or carrots were harmed in the making of this sauce!
Seriously, these fillers are not necessary in a classic, meaty Bolognaise sauce, along with celery, pumpkin, bacon, or any other pantry item you’re trying to get rid of! Use good quality beef and pork and there's no need to bulk it up with veggies! Many recipes call for beef stock but with this method the flavour comes from the browning of the meat and the slow cooking so there is no need for stock.
I often make 2 kilo batches and freeze what we don’t eat. It’s the foundation for many other classic family dishes such as lasagne, moussaka, pasta bake, bolognaise stroganoff, shepherd’s pie… the list is never ending! This recipe calls for beef and pork, I find pork sweetens the sauce but it can be made with just beef.
500g minced beef
500g minced pork
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions – finely diced
½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Ground peppercorn
1 bottle Italian Passata cooking sauce (700g)
1 tablespoon tomato paste concentrate
1-2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 cup hot water
1 bunch flat leaf parsley - chopped
500g Durum wheat pasta
Heat olive oil in a large saucepan. Fry the mince adding it in batches on a high heat. This step usually takes a bit of time as the meat will produce liquid that needs to evaporate. When the meat is sizzling, well browned and sticking to the pan add the onions and cook till translucent. Don’t worry about the meat sticking to the saucepan, once the tomato puree is added it will come away. Add the cooking sauce, tomato paste, oregano, chilli flakes, salt, sugar, ground peppercorn and water. Place a lid on the saucepan, reduce heat and allow sauce to simmer for at least 1 hour stirring occasionally. You will know it is ready when the sauce has thickened and the olive oil has settled on top. If you find the sauce is getting thick too soon add some more water. Add ¾ of the chopped parsley about 5-10 minutes before the sauce has finished cooking. If the fresh parsley is added too early, it loses its flavour with cooking. Salt to your own taste.
Boil water in another saucepan and add the pasta along with a good pinch of salt. Remember not to overcook it, pasta must be ‘al dente’ as the Italians say, which means firm, not mushy. Stir occasionally so that the pasta doesn’t stick. When cooked, drain the pasta in a colander and put it back in the saucepan. Add your sauce and stir through. To serve, finish off with a sprinkling of the chopped parsley and some good quality grated parmesan. My favourite is Grana Padano aged parmesan which can be purchased from any good delicatessen. If you like a bit of heat sprinkle some chilli flakes on top and enjoy!
Footnote: Recipe feeds 6 people. Sauce can be frozen and will keep for up to 3 months.