Not your typical Spag Bolg!

It's not a very handsome picture is it? Definitely not my best photo... because I was just aching to taste the sauce, and not focusing on photography at all!

Bolognese sauce is under-rated. Yes, the words "spag bolg" send a sort of confused wave of depression over my heart... but that's mainly because the usual run-of-the-mill "spag bolg" is not made with proper Bolognese sauce. First let me clarify: Bolognese sauce is not minced beef boiled in a jar of supermarket ready-made sauce! Bolognese sauce is like a stew, a ragu` that is made with love and a whole load of other ingredients.

I make Bolognese sauce when I have time on my hands, like at the weekend. There is nothing better than stirring a pot of goodness for a couple of hours on a chilly Autumn day. Not that it needs much stirring, but I enjoy that bit! As I don't eat much pasta anymore, I normally serve the sauce spooned over a baked sweet potato. Of course, it's also a base for lasagne, and sometimes I freeze it in single serving containers, ready to defrost and heat up when I don't feel like cooking. In fact, I have four such containers in my freezer right now. However, it had to be said - this sauce/ragu` is yummy with pasta - not spaghetti, mind you. This is best served with wider, long pasta, like tagliatelle, so that the sauce clings to the pasta in the most beautiful way. (This is making me feel poetic - food generally does though!)

Here's how I make my Bolognese:

1 kg minced beef
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 large carrots, finely chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
200g pancetta cubes
1 tbsp ghee, or a mixture of butter and olive oil
1 glass of red wine
1 cup beef stock
3 tbsp tomato puree
1 can chopped tomatoes
salt and pepper

In a large pot, fry the vegetables and pancetta in the ghee (or whatever kind of fat you decide to use) for about 10 minutes. When these are cooked, add the mince and let it brown.

When browned, add the red wine and let it bubble and reduce. Then stir in the tomato puree, beef stock and the chopped tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Leave to simmer on a low heat for at least one and a half hours until thick. Stir it from time to time, adding more stock if the sauce becomes too dry and thick.

Like a stew, Bolognese sauce tastes better the day after it's made. 

Bon Appétit!


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