Bolognese

timelong skillmed budgetmed

I have been spending years reading, watching, finding information, and testing different bolognese sauce recipes. From traditional recipes that require hours and hours of cooking to endless variations of celebrity chefs’ and internet recipes. What I wrote down here is my all around bolognese recipe where it balances taste with effort and energy. There is no point in sharing a recipe to people if they won’t cook it because it’s too difficult. This bolognese version is what I regularly whip out in about 30-40 minutes without compromising the flavour. I also like to cook this in bulk so it can last for several days. Definitely not authentic, in fact, some ingredients will probably make purists cringe, but it’s very good nevertheless.

Essential components:
• Around the same portions of diced onion, celery, and carrot (This is called the soffrito in Italian)
• Meat, I prefer a mix of minced beef and pork (My ratio is usually about 2:1 meat to onion)
• Canned tomato, you actually don’t need many, I literally only used 1 can for the recipe below and it ended up enough easily for about 5-6 meals

Optional but would be good to use:
• Tomato puree and ketchup
• Dried herbs of Mediterranean kind
• Wine, I use cheap white wine
• Star Anise
• Soy sauce (yea yea…)

Pantry items and other stuff:
• Salt, black pepper, sugar
• Vinegar
• Stock
• Oil

Method:
• Have everything ready, heat up your pot and add oil
• Once the oil is hot, add the meat and brown, get them separated, we don’t want lumps. This is the most difficult part of the cooking as some of the meat may stick. (Completely negated if using non-stick so that could be an option)
• Once the meat browns, add the soffrito and cook for about 4-5 minutes until they soften
• Add white wine, at this stage also scrape the brown bits in your pot (obviously don’t scrape your pot if using non-stick) and cook for about 3-4 minutes
• Add canned tomato, tomato puree, tomato ketchup, and stock until everything is covered. Also add the dried herbs and star anise if using (My personal combination is basil and bay leaf)
• Add a small splash of soy sauce (purely to add body to the sauce) and do the first round of seasoning. Most likely you will need to add more acidity using vinegar and balance everything with some sugar
• Once boiling, lower the heat to medium and cook until desired consistency, I like to cook mine a little bit longer (15-20 minutes extra) to be really thick. You can always add water if it gets too thick
• Do a final seasoning, serve on top of pasta and topped with cheese

• EXTRA STEP: If you’re feeling chefy, instead of just topping the sauce on the pasta, take 2-3 laddles of the sauce onto a frying pan, heat up and mix the pasta into it

Tips and thoughts:
• If you’re worried about the meat browning step, you can actually start with the vegetable first and the meat after. Most likely you will not be able to brown the meat, but it doesn’t matter too much. The flavour from the other ingredients will carry the dish
• I also like adding minced chicken liver into the meat mixture
• You don’t have to use fancy vinegar, standard white vinegar is good enough. If you’re feeling particularly more foody, go ahead and go with red wine vinegar

bolognaise

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