I’ve not updated this blog for ages, so I thought I’d rejuvenate it with a classic!
This dish is named after the Italian region of Bologna, famous for its meat products and where, allegedly, vegetarianism is almost considered an illness. The dish has become a home favourite worldwide and is usually the go-to when serving large numbers of people, be they young or old.
Unfortunately, it is most commonly seen packaged in supermarkets, pasta included, ready to heat up at your beck and call. The packaged dish is a poor imitation of the authentic and usually has copious amounts of salt, sugar and oil in it, none of which are needed with the right ingredients.
This dish can be made in its most basic form with tinned tomatoes, onions, mincemeat, salt and pepper and of course pasta. It can also be made in about half an hour. However, the recipe I use has a lot of bells and whistles— but the flavour is worth it.
- About 250-500g mincemeat
- 1/2 large red onion (a white onion works fine too, but the red onion’s flavour is better-suited to the tomato and meat juices)
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 and 1/2 cans of chopped / pulped tomatoes
- A handful or two of fresh basil leaves
- Two sprigs of rosemary
- Balsamic vinegar
- A smattering of salt
- As much dry pasta as you feel like eating
- Parmesan cheese & basil to garnish
OGATACHEF NOTE: If you want, you can add other vegetables to the bolognese. Recommended are asparagus, courgette, eggplant and cherry tomatoes. These should be chopped into chunks.
- Finely chop the onion and garlic and fry in a pot (NOT a frying pan!) until lightly browned. Add the mincemeat. Try not to pulp the mince too much— you’re not making burgers. The meat should form clumps but should still be recogniseable as mincemeat. Lower the heat when the meat has just browned.
- Add the tinned tomatoes (and any other soft vegetables you may have used) and stir so the ingredients diffuse well. It should begin to boil. At this point, add the herbs so that their flavour begins to infuse from the earliest opportunity.
- Add the balsamic vinegar and salt to your own liking, but try not to overdo it or you’ll kill the flavour of the herbs. Add it a little at a time.
- Once you’ve got the flavour down, all that’s left to do is wait! The sauce will be very watery at this point. Let it open-air simmer on a low heat until the majority of the liquid has boiled away. Stir every now and then to diffuse the flavours. The longer you let it simmer, the tastier the sauce will be but I recommend about an hour. Don’t let all of the liquid disappear, though, or you’ll end up frying the sauce and it will become tough and oily.
- When the liquid has disappeared, cover the pot to keep the sauce warm. Then cook your pasta. Different types take different times, but for the Italian al dente style, I recommend no longer than five to six minutes.
- Serve the sauce over the pasta and add parmesan and basil to taste. As they say in Italy, buon appetito!