publication date: Aug 26, 2011
author/source: Fiona Beckett
Everyone has their own version of spaghetti bolognese which typically means they don’t like anyone else’s. Some won’t touch it if it has mushrooms, others regard carrots (a typical inclusion in Italian ragus) with suspicion, still others don’t like to see bits of onion anywhere near it.
Until you know what your hallmates or housemates tastes are keep it simple even though it may not be particularly authentic.
The easiest way to make it is a variation on the simple tomato sauce I gave last week. There’s a really easy recipe already on the site here but here’s a couple of points I would stress.
It’s well worth taking the time to brown the meat first. For a start it means you can use slightly cheaper mince because you get rid of all the fat. Secondly the flavour is better.
Get your frying pan hot and pour a small amount of oil into it then take about half your meat (assuming you’ve bought a 400-500g pack and distribute it around the pan. Let it start to brown before turning it then keep turning it occasionally until all the meat is lightly browned. This will take about 3-4 minutes but it’s worth it. It’ll also produce quite a lot of fat and liquid. Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and pour the fat off into a cup or bowl (not down the sink - it can block it!) then put the pan back on the heat and repeat the process with the remaining meat. When you’ve cooked all the meat and removed all the fat return the meat to the pan and continue with the recipe.
Secondly you can intensify the flavour and make a richer sauce if you stir a tablespoon of tomato paste into the meat once you’ve returned it to the pan. Tomato paste is dead cheap but gives an intense tomato flavour.
That’s it, really. If you’ve got any (drinkable, not vinegary) wine lying around add half a glass of that which will improve the sauce but basically follow the recipe and you’ll be fine.
If you’re trying to cut costs there’s an alternative way of making bolognese sauce here using pork or turkey mince which tends to be cheaper than beef mince, which includes mushrooms and cream and a more authentic one, using a smaller amount of meat in our new Ultimate Student Cookbook. But if you haven’t made it before try the simple version first.
Tomorrow: What you can do with leftover bolognese sauce.