This is a diary of what I cook and what I eat.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Perfecting the Bolognaise

If you were to ask for a Spaghetti Bolognaise in any trattoria, ristorante or osteria in Italy, then they would either: graciously oblige, or they could tell you the truth: it doesn’t exist.

In actual fact Spaghetti Bolognaise as we know it is an amalgamation of Ragu sauce and spaghetti pasta. The Italian Ragu sauce, which originated in the Italian city of Bologna, is cooked with red wine, onions, celery, tomato and ground meat. This mixture can be cooked for anything as long as seven hours to truly develop the rich flavours from the meat and allow the wine to enhance the sauce. This combined with the emphasis on sourcing locally grown ingredients creates the time-honoured sauce.

Undeniably the love affair with this dish is an ongoing one in the UK and almost every foodie has their own version. I have worked my recipe for Ragu and after several attempts I believe this is the perfect version. The balance of flavours works a treat for any midweek meal or indeed can still be an impressive meal to serve at a dinner party and is a bonus for people that like to get their prep done prior to their guests’ arrival.

This makes enough for 4

2 medium tomatoes pureed with a touch of water
1 jar of passatta
2 cloves garlic (crushed/ pureed in pestle and mortar)
1 large white onion finely chopped
4/5 slices of pancetta
100g pepperoni diced or if bought in slices cut into quarters
4 sausages (pork at least 78% pork, avoid strong herbs in these) de-skinned
400g lean beef mince
250ml red wine
Generous pinch of salt and pepper

1. Fry the onion in a tablespoon of Olive oil for two to three minutes or until the onions start to develop a ‘glassy’ appearance over a medium heat.

2. Rip the pancetta or slice into strips. (Don’t worry if this looks scruffy, it cooks down a considerable amount). Add the pepperoni and brown off for two-three minutes over a high heat.

3. Add the sausage meat and the mince meat and allow to brown. This process could take up to six minutes depending on the size of your pan bottom.

4. Add the fresh tomato puree, garlic, red wine and passatta together and then reduce the heat. You should now keep the heat on a very low setting and allow to simmer for at least 1 hour. Mine happily sits on my stove for up to two and a half hours. If you see the pan getting a little dry then add either some more red wine or a little water.

5. When you have reduced the mixture, taste and then add the salt and pepper to your liking.

I serve this with linguine pasta cooked with boiling water and plenty of salt, no oil! Its also good minus pasta with some garlic break and a salad. Either which way I challenge you to find a tastier plate of pure food indulgence.

1 comment:

  1. Yum! That is delicious!My family loves this. And the sauce just gets better the next day :)