Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Spaghetti Bolognese (no herbs nor wine)

My eldest and youngest love their pasta - that's a given. It's but natural that we're looking at the many variations of the sauces that we can pair with it. Their absolute favourite is the Ragu Bolognese, aka spaghetti tomato meat sauce in this side of the Western world. The three differing sauces that we regularly use with spaghetti are: Classic Ragu Bolognese, Pinoy-style sauce, and the Meatballs sauce. This one I'm posting is quite a departure from those three. Well, it's similar to the first one but quite distinct because it does not involve any herbs, garlic nor wine! Plus the stewing technique is different and the sauce is not simmered down a thick consistency. It is kept topped up and moist. I was quite intrigued so I promptly made it a few days later. Lo and behold, the resulting sauce is really really good which even the harshest critics in the family concurring that this is a gem of a sauce.

Cooking competitions for viewers occurs from time to time in the TV magazine program The One Show in the BBC. And it's there that I chanced upon this winning recipe from a guy who in turn got it from his Italian granny-in-law. Actually she didn't give it to him, he just watched her all the time she cooks it! This happened early in 2012 and I couldn't find the permalinks anymore. Good thing I emailed the recipe to myself as soon as it was published. So who ever you are (the winner and his Italian nonna-in-law) thank you very much for sharing. Your sauce is now my kids' new pasta sauce favourite.

Tweaks I made for this recipe are - increased recipe to x1.5, changed proportion of beef to pork, and increased the passata. It's mainly to use up all the ingredients as per supermarket packaging. I really don't know what to do with a left-over 150gm of passata nor with 200gm of minced beef. Well ... I could make some other dish out of it but I couldn't be bothered to be honest, I just chucked them all in the pot which I'm sure all of you harried cooks would relate to.

So if you're the type who doesn't like herbs or the after-taste of wine in their pasta sauce this one's for you.

Spaghetti Bolognese with Sausage

Spaghetti Bolognese

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
500 g  minced beef
400 g  minced pork
3 good-quality pork sausages (97% pork) [about 200 gm]
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
60 g  onion - finely chopped
60 g  celery - finely chopped
60 g  carrots - finely chopped
500 g  passata (tomato sauce/puree)
2 Tbsp double-concentrated tomato puree (tomato paste)
2 cups stock
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Remove sausage from casing. Mix the beef, pork, and sausage in a bowl (best to do by hand) until well combined. Set aside.
  2. Heat a heavy saucepan or pot. Add the olive oil in low heat and saute the onion, celery, and carrots. Cook for around 5-10 minutes or until softened.
  3. Add the mixed meat and brown evenly in medium-low heat. Do not overcook until dry. It must stay moist. Break up the meat with your cooking spoon as you brown it.
  4. Once browned, pour in the passata and tomato puree. Add the stock and stir. It should be covered by liquid.
  5. Season with salt and pepper. (I usually add 1 tsp sea salt at this point).
  6. Simmer on very low heat with the cover slightly ajar for about 4-5 hours. Taste regularly and add more salt and/or pepper if needed.
  7. Check the sauce regularly and if the sauce is thickening too quickly, add a little more hot water or stock. The sauce should always cover the minced meat and not allowed to dry out.
  8. Serve with spaghetti or any pasta shapes with a topping of freshly grated Parmesan cheese (although this is traditionally eaten with tagliatelle or rigatoni).