I’m a big fan of traditional British meals…. chilli con carne…. pizza….. chicken tikka….. And there aren’t many more satisfying meals than a long simmered bolognese in my opinion.
The meat-based sauce, originating from Bologna, Italy, is traditionally used to dress tagliatelle and may also be used to prepare “lasagne alla Bolognese”. In Bologna, “ragù alla Bolognese” is known simply as “ragù” but outside of Italy, Bolognese sauce often means just a simple tomato sauce containing meat, and more often bears little resemblance to the traditional Ragù alla Bolognese.
Still, I’m not too proud to make it my own way and to my own taste….. and here is how I like it…..
- 500g Mince meat (I like Duchy Originals organic British beef extra lean mince)
- 1 large red onion, chopped finely
- 2 large cloves garlic, chopped finely
- Drizzle of olive oil
- 2 large carrots, chopped into batons
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced into chunks
- 5 to 6 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbspn tomato puree
- 1 tbspn tomato ketchup
- 1 tbspn mushroom ketchup
- 1 tbspn Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbspn dried parsley or mixed herbs
- salt and pepper to season
- 1 glass red wine (optional)
- shaved parmesan or pecorino to go on top
How to make it…..
- Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan and add the garlic and onion.
- When they have started to soften and brown, add the mince meat and stir until browning.
- Pour in the mushroom ketchup and Worcestershire sauce and stir around.
- Add the carrots, herbs and tomatoes, then stir in the tomato puree and ketchup.
- Bring to the boil and simmer until the carrots begin to soften.
- Add the peppers and mushrooms, stir again and season to taste.
- Simmer for at least half an hour, or a few hours if you can wait…. if you would like to add wine and simmer for a while, gradually add the wine bit by bit and reduce until you have a rich sauce.
Serve with tagliatelle (I find it easier to eat and more satisfying than skinny spaghetti), and top with shavings of hard cheese like pecorino or parmesan. Oh, and a garlic ciabatta if you’re very hungry!