Thursday, December 25, 2008

Spaghetti alla Bolognese

Spaghetti alla Bolognese, or the Bolognese sauce is a meat and tomato based sauce, named after Bologna, Italy. The traditional Bolognese sauce uses a variety of ingredients such as carrots, celery, panchetta, and red wine, along with the ground meat and tomato paste. In my version I have not used them, instead I added olives and some herbs (which are usually skipped in the traditional version)

Servings: 4

  • Spaghetti - 1 lb (450 gm)
  • Canned Tomato - 1 lb jar
  • Minced Beef - 1 lb (450 gm) (you can also use chicken or turkey mince)
  • Soy sauce - 2 tbsp
  • Canned Pitted Olives - 1, drained, roughly chopped
  • Onion - 1 large, diced
  • Garlic cloves - 1 tsp, minced
  • Dried chili flakes - 1 tbsp or to taste (depending on heat preference)
  • Grated Parmesan cheese - 1/2 cup
  • Italian seasoning or dried oregano - 1 tsp
  • Salt & pepper - to taste
  • 1. First prepare the soffritto*. In a large non-stick pan, heat 3 tbsp of oil . Add the chopped onions, saute till translucent. Add the garlic and saute a bit more.
  • 2. Add the minced beef and some salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Saute till the meat has changed colour to brown.
  • 3. Add the soy sauce, olives, Italian seasoning or the dried oregano, chili flakes and saute for 3-5 min.
  • 4. Add the canned tomato and a cup of hot water and simmer on low heat for about 10 min**, or till the colour changes to a deep red and the sauce reduces down to a thicker consistency.
  • 5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta following the packages instructions, till al dente. Drain.
  • 6. Add the drained pasta to the sauce and simmer for 15 min on medium heat, so that the pasta will absorb the sauce flavours and the sauce will thicken and stick to the pasta.
  • 7. Turn of the heat, and stir in 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese before serving.
*Soffritto means the base of any dish, where cooking the aromatics, such as onion, garlic, celery, etc, are cooked in oil or sauteed slowly.
**The longer you cook the sauce the better it tastes, so if you have time, simmer it on low heat for about 2-4 hours. The richness of the taste difference will amaze you. However my version is for a busy or an impatient cook (which I tend to be when I am starving)
***If you like, make extra amount and refrigerate, as I do since the left-overs taste even better the following day.


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