Most people know that bolognese sauce comes from Bologna in Italy. Yet in the city of its birth it is never… never… eaten with spaghetti. Tagliatelle is the traditional noodle for the meaty sauce, for the simple reason that it scoops it up so much better.
DonQui does not know why spagbol — or spaghetti bolognese — has become such an international classic. Whenever he eats it he is left with a pile of sauce in the bottom of his bowl as the spaghetti simply does not pick it up the way tagliatelle, penne or other larger noodles do. So when he makes bolognese sauce he does not serve it with spaghetti.
Visitors are on their way up from London so DonQui sets about preparing a big batch of pasta bolognese. It is a great dish to prepare in advance and can fill hungry visitors almost as soon as they have arrived or be held for later.
This is how he does it:
Ingredients (for 4-6 people depending on appetite)
400-500g lean minced beef
500ml tomato passata (puréed tomatoes)
1 onion finely chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 garlic clove crushed
a good bunch of oregano (chopped). DonQui has a plentiful supply growing on his allotment but you can use dried oregano if you cannot find fresh.
a good dash of red wine
a splash of balsamic vinegar
a pinch of hot chilli powder (or more if you like it hot — DonQui uses about 1/4 teaspoon)
salt to taste
olive oil for cooking
Gently fry the chopped carrot in olive oil until it starts to brown and soften — about 3-5 minutes —then take out of the pan and set aside. This will allow the carrots to retain a nice little crunch when warmed up with the rest of the sauce later on.
Gently fry the chopped onion and when it begins to colour add the crushed garlic, chilli powder and salt. Stir together for a minute or two then throw in the minced meat.
Cook the meat on a medium heat until it has all browned and any water released from the cooked meat begins to evaporate. Then add the wine, the passata, oregano and balsamic vinegar. Give it all a good stir, bring it to the boil, then put a lid on the pan and let simmer very gently for a good half hour or longer until the flavours have nicely blended and the sauce reduced a bit. Five minutes before serving stir in the carrots.
Taste for seasoning, sprinkle on a bit more oregano if you have it and serve over your favourite pasta — but not spaghetti!
Add grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese if you like — DonQui does.
DonQui tried it with garganelli — a rolled egg pasta — which went rather well. The sauce had a deep, tangy taste and DonQui probably ate more than he should have.
Even the visiting little man liked it.