20 February 2009

Pasta Bolognese

I remember when my grandma would make me Spaghetti and put it into one of those chinese thermos flasks for me to take to school for lunch. I tend to be rather popular during lunch time on those particular days at school. My grandma's recipe was actually more like chinese spaghetti. She used soy sauce to marinate the beef, added chinese rice wine, garlic, onions, fresh tomatoes and some chinese green shallots. There was no use of cheese, bacon, red wine, basil or any other typical Italian herbs. But it was delicate and deliciously yummy in its own way... My highschool friends certainly thought so.

This recipe here is not my grandma's recipe. I've actually tried to mimic my grandma's recipe before, but it was never quite the same. My own recipe, which I have adapted from many other recipes, is distinctively more Italian than Chinese. But the reason why Spaghetti Bolognese is one of my favorite comfort foods is because of the one my grandma first made for me.

I've broken this recipe down into separate stages. With the ingredients shown in the right order. Hopefully it is easier to understand this way.

Pasta Bolognese

Phase 1:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 brown onion (sliced & chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (smashed & chopped)
  • 4 slices bacon rashers (chopped)
  • 1 carrot (grated)
  • 1 celery stick (diced finely)
  • 1 kg lean mined beef
  • salt and pepper
  1. Heat oil in a big pot (I use a dutch oven pot)
  2. Saute onion, garlic, bacon, celery and carrots until soft (3-5 mins)
  3. Add beef, season with salt and pepper and cook until browned.

Phase 2:

  • 2 fresh or dried bay leaves
  • 1 Cup of red wine
  • 150 ml milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  1. Add Bay Leaves, Red wine and bring to boil , then reduce heat to medium. Simmer until most wine has evapourated.
  2. Add milk and Nutmeg
  3. Cook until milk has been absorbed.

Phase 3:

  • 2 Cans of Whole tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • drizzle of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • salt and pepper
  • a good handful of fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • lots of freshly grated parmesan cheese, to serve
  1. Add tomatoes, sugar, herbs, Worcestershire sauce and mix in the tomato paste. Bring the heat up so the sauce starts to boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer gently for ~ 45 mins.
  3. Season to taste with Salt & Pepper (if required)
  4. 5 mins before serving, add in the torn basil leaves.
  5. Serve with your favorite cooked pasta and cover with cheese
This is one dish I tend to make a whole pot of, then separate into 'twosome' meal sized containers to freeze for later. After the immediate meal, I'm usually able to get about 3 more full containers from the leftovers in the pot.

Quickie Meal ~ 15 mins to reheat the sauce while cooking the pasta

And the leftovers always tends to taste better. :)

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