TICKLE YOUR ITALIAN TASTEBUDS
Bolognese sauce, known in Italian as ragù alla bolognese, is
a meat-based sauce originating from Bologna, Italy, hence the name. In Italian
cuisine, it is customarily used to dress tagliatelle al ragù and to prepare
lasagne alla bolognese. In the absence of tagliatelle, it can also be used with
other broad, flat pasta shapes, such as pappardelle or fettuccine.
Genuine ragù alla bolognese is a slowly cooked sauce, and
its preparation involves several techniques, including sweating, sautéing and
braising. Ingredients include a characteristic soffritto of onion, celery and
carrot, different types of minced or finely chopped beef, often alongside small
amounts of fatty pork. White wine, milk, and a small amount of tomato concentrate,
or tomatoes are added, and the dish is then gently simmered at length to
produce a thick sauce.
1 tbsp olive oil, or rice bran oil, or rapeseed oil
rashers smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped, or a pack of lardons
1 large onion,
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2-3 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and
500g beef mince – pork or turkey
mince works just as well, as does Quorn mince
For the Bolognese sauce
1 tin chopped
1 pack basil,
leaves picked, ¾ finely chopped, and the rest left whole for garnish
1 tsp dried oregano
2 fresh bay
2 tbsp tomato
1 beef stock
1 red chilli,
seeded and finely chopped (optional)
100ml red wine
tomatoes, sliced in half
To season and serve
grated, plus extra to serve
crusty bread, to serve (optional)
1. Put a large saucepan on a medium heat
and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the bacon/lardons and fry until golden and crisp.
2. Reduce the heat and add the onion,
carrot, celery, garlic and rosemary, then fry for 10 mins. Stir often until everything
3. Increase the heat to medium-high, add
the mince and cook stirring for 3-4 mins until the meat is browned all over.
4. Add the tinned tomatoes, chopped basil,
oregano, bay leaves, tomato purée, stock cube, chilli, wine and cherry
tomatoes. Stir well.
5. Bring to the boil, reduce to a gentle
simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 1¼ hours stirring occasionally, until you
have a rich, thick sauce. Add the Parmesan, check the seasoning and stir.
6. When the Bolognese is nearly finished
cook the spaghetti following pack instructions. Drain the spaghetti and stir
into the Bolognese sauce. You can use some of the spaghetti water to let down
the sauce if it is too thick.
7. Serve with grated Parmesan, the extra
basil leaves and crusty bread.