Bolognese sauce or ragu sauce as traditionally called in Italy. This stable mince dish is one of the most common dishes made by all walks of society. I have learnt that when you ask a student what can they make, this is the most common answer. Remember those first dates where you invited or were invited to your partners home and the dinner was spaghetti Bolognese. Something simple we said.
The good thing about this dish is the many variations you come across. The list is almost endless and yet still as satisfying. This variation is one that I have adapted over many years from making 500 portions or more when catering for large numbers in the Army on a small budget, making lunch for the Officers and more importantly for my family as I will try and give them the best I can as the budget is not as low as when cooking for the masses. Cooking for my family is really important to me, as I want them to experience the best flavours I can give in all dishes I make.
For this version it is cooked over a low heat for a long time to really bring the flavours together. By cooking over a longer period you get an almost velvety sauce as the meats become softer and absorb the different flavours, from the herbs to the rich tomatoes. You could make this to stage 3 and then transfer to a slow cooker and leave until needed a few hours later making this dish extremely versatile. Many versions are made quickly but I dare say that by slow cooking makes this far superior
I also use this Bolognese sauce for my lasagna, pasta bakes and with any leftovers as a pizza topping or atop toasted bread with grated mozzarella with a dash of chilli sauce as a perfect snack.
Serve with some garlic bread and you have a simple yet filling meal for any occasion.
Try this version and let me know what you think? Do you have a better version or any tweaks that could be made this variation even more satisfying?
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 500 g Beef Mince
- 130 g Pancetta
- 2 ind medium sized White Onion peeled and cutto small dice
- 1 ind stick of Celery trimmed and cutto small dice
- 2 ind medium sized Carrots peeled and cutto small dice
- 4 Garlic cloves peeled and crushed
- 2 400 g tins of chopped Tomatoes
- 1 Beef stock cube
- 200 ml Red Wine optional
- 1 tbsp. tomato puree
- 2 tsp. dried Oregano
- 1 tsp. dried Rosemary
- 1 dried Bay leaf
- Salt and Pepper
- Parmesan grated
- Fry off the pancetta in a heavy based saucepan without oil over a medium to high heat for 3 – 5 minutes. Once browned, add a good glug of Olive Oil and add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic. Fry for 8 – 10 minutes stirring occasionally. A little colour is ok but not too much, as you want the natural sweetness of the vegetables to come through.
- Add the beef mince and fry until browned all over then add the oregano, rosemary, tomato puree and fry for a further minute.
- Add the red wine, turn up the heat a little, stir and reduce the liquid by half. Stir in the tomatoes, stock cube and bay leaf, bring to a good simmer then turn to low and cover with a lid for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Check occasionally and stir if required to prevent the Bolognese from sticking.
- Take the Bolognese off the heat and check for seasoning. Place in a bowl and serve with your favourite garlic bread and a good grating of fresh Parmesan.