I thought a good place to start my recipes blog would be a classic. My mother’s Bolognaise sauce is my go-to recipe. A heartwarming and delicious dish that while it’s simplicity may be sneered at, has never been served to anything but smiles around the dinner table. Pair it with a pasta of your liking and you’re onto a winner.
Having a food processor really streamlines the process, but if you are confident enough with a chef’s knife you should be able to get all the vegetables small enough.
This recipe works best feeding a big group, but can easily be refrigerated or frozen and saved for later, so make a big batch for the best taste.
You will need:
1kg of Beef or Pork mince (can even use a mixture of the two)
500g of smoked bacon lardons (Pancetta Cubetti can be used for a more authentic taste but I find the bacon lends the recipe sweetness)
2 Cloves of Garlic
2 Sticks of Celery
2 Whole Brown Onions
50g of Flat or Curly leaf Parsley
800g Tomato Passatta
2 x 400g can of chopped tomatoes
2 Tbsp of Tomato puree
500ml of Beef Stock
250ml Red Wine (I recommend something Italian or if not, a Merlot)
2 Bay Leaves
3 Tbsp Paprika
4 Tbsp Mixed Herbs
2 Tbsp Chilli Flakes
Grated Parmesan to serve
First off is prepping the vegetables. If you have a food processor handy add the onions, celery, carrots, parsley and garlic and blitz until finely chopped. If not, its time to get to work with a knife and chop the ingredients as small as you can manage, so there are no large chunks as we want the veg to almost be lost into the sauce.
Take a large pan ideally a casserole dish (the bigger the better) onto a medium-high heat and add the beef mince and break it down while browning it. After browning the mince add the wine and reduce it’s volume by around two thirds.
Remove the beef and wine from the pan and set aside. Into the same pan add the lardons and brown them. Move the lardons to the side, then add the vegetables and cook until softened. Mix together with the beef, wine and bacon. Add the passata, chopped tomatoes and the two tablespoons of tomato puree. Stir well, but hold onto the passata and chopped tomato containers.
(Tip: to avoid the bitter taste that often comes with tomato puree, heat the puree separately before mixing it into the sauce)
Before adding the stock, pour a little into the tomato containers and shake before adding to the mixture, ensuring you get the most out of the containers, then add the stock to the sauce. Add the Paprika, Chilli Flakes and Mixed Herbs and stir (season to your taste). Finally pop in the bay leaves and leave the pan simmering for around two hours. The longer and slower you can cook this the better, as the flavours will only develop and intensify the longer it sits, but make sure to keep on a low heat and stir often or it will begin to stick to the bottom of the pan. My advice is to leave the pot uncovered until it has reached the consistency you would like, otherwise it has a danger to be too thin a sauce.
To serve, add a little sauce in a large mixing bowl with your pasta of choice and stir well. Top with your desired amount of bolognaise and bring to the table with a large serving spoon. Garnish with Parmesan to intensify the flavour.