Bolognese or Bolognaise, Italian or French?

The prerequisite bolognese/bolognaise recipe!

Disclaimer: this probably isn’t the ‘classic’ or ‘perfect’ or ‘whatever-you-want-to-call-it’ bolognaise recipe…. but it’s the one that my friends, family and I love – both to cook AND eat.

The full bolognaise recipe is something that I just started doing pretty recently. The soffritto (Italian) or mirepoix (French) which is the combination of onions, celery and carrots – makes the bolognaise, SO much better. I made this for a dinner we had recently, and the smell of it made a couple of people say “WHAT did you put in that?? It smells so good!”

You can use the full recipe if you’re looking for something to impress, or the quick recipe if you’re feeling lazy, or if your pocket feels a little empty this week. You might also want a couple of napkins handy… spaghetti bolognaise can be a messy business. =D

To feed 5 hungry people you’ll need….

Full Recipe:
2 Tbsp oil
1 large onion (diced)
1 medium sized carrot (finely diced)
1 stick of celery (finely diced)
2 cloves garlic (minced), or 1 ½ heaped tsp minced garlic
500g minced beef
1/4 cup red wine (Optional)
1 can diced tomatoes (preferably Roma, but any one will do)
1 bottle tomato puree or passata (Italian tomato cooking sauce)
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried parsley
1-2 tsp brown or white sugar
1/4 tsp salt (or more, to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup whole milk
100g white mushrooms, sliced/diced
100g baby spinach/rocket
Shaved fresh parmesan cheese for topping

1 packet of pasta, enough for 5 people (Spaghetti is the one people usually think of when you say bolognaise, but you can use whatever kind of pasta you like.)

Method
1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan and add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Fry on medium heat for about 5-10 minutes until carrots and celery soften and the onion looks translucent. Make sure you don’t burn the garlic!
2. Add the mince and stir well until meat is browned.
3. Add the red wine, whole can of diced tomatoes (including their juices), tomato puree, herbs, sugar and salt and pepper and stir well to mix.
4. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add in the milk and stir until well incorporated.
6. Stir the mushrooms into the pan and let simmer for another 5 minutes. Take off the heat, and add the spinach/rocket, stir well. You only want the vegetables to wilt, but not get mushy.

Cook the pasta (this step should be done during above step 4)
1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add in 1 ½ tbsp salt and stir until salt has dissolved. Add the spaghetti/pasta and cook according to packet instructions (about 10 minutes, or until al dente)
2. Drain the pasta, but leave a bit of water in the pot to be absorbed by the pasta.

To serve: Heap spaghetti into bowls, top with a generous spoonful of bolognaise, extra spinach/rocket and some parmesan. Serve with some garlic bread on the side, if you like.

Quick Recipe (a.k.a. the budget version):
2 Tbsp oil (olive oil is preferred but not necessary)
1 large onion (diced)
2 cloves of garlic (minced), or 1 ½ heaped tsp minced garlic
500g Minced beef
1 can diced tomatoes (preferably roma, but any one will do, really)
1 bottle of tomato puree or tomato-based pasta sauce
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp brown or white sugar
¼ tsp salt (or more, to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper
100g mushrooms (optional)
A couple of handfuls of baby spinach/rocket (optional)
Shaved/shredded parmesan cheese for topping

500g pasta (Spaghetti is the one people usually think of, but you can use any type you like.)

Method
1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan and add the onion and garlic. Fry on medium heat for about 3-5 minutes until onion softens and begins to look translucent. Make sure you don’t burn the garlic!
2. Add the mince and stir well until meat is browned.
3. Add the whole can of diced tomatoes (including their juices), tomato puree, herbs, sugar and salt and pepper and stir well to mix.
4. Reduce heat to low, cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. (Optional Step) Stir the mushrooms into the pan and let simmer for another 5 minutes. Take off heat and stir in spinach.

Cook the pasta (this step should be done during above step 4)
1. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add in 1 ½ tbsp salt and stir until salt has dissolved. Add the spaghetti/pasta and cook according to packet instructions (about 10 minutes, or until al dente)
2. Drain the pasta, but leave a bit of water in the pot to be absorbed by the pasta.

To serve: Heap spaghetti into bowls, top with a generous spoonful of bolognaise, some spinach/rocket and some parmesan. Serve with some garlic bread on the side, if you like.

Try it! If you liked this post, why not share it with other people? 🙂

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