Monday, 12 March 2012

Spaghetti Bolognaise

Part of me thought it wasn't worth posting Spag Bol as everyone has their own variation on this classic dish. I don't usually follow a recipe and just throw in whatever I fancy, never really measuring the ingredients. It tastes different each time, but that's not a bad thing. However this Jamie Oliver recipe from "Happy Days with the Naked chef", jumped out at me again the other day. The ragu as he calls it, is cooked slowly in the oven. Jamie says "no decent Italian Cook has any recollection of what we know as Spaghetti Bolognaise". The flavour of the sauce intensifies and the sauce becomes quite concentrated. I like to make it this way if I have time. The actual preparation time was 15 minutes but it takes one and a half hours to cook. I think it's worth the wait.

Serves 4
10 slices of pancetta or smoked streaky bacon rashers, sliced
1 handful of rosemary, leaves picked and roughly chopped ( I used thyme as I had some left over, dried herbs could also be used)
olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
455g minced beef
1 wineglass of red wine
1 level teaspoon dried oregano ( I have left this out)
400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 x 200g tube of tomato puree or small jar of sun dried tomatoes (I used a little of each)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
455g dried spaghetti
1 handful of fresh basil (not essential)
2 handfuls of grated Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 180C. In a large hot pan that can go in the oven, fry the pancetta and rosemary in a little olive oil until lightly golden. Then add the onion and garlic and fry for another 3 minutes, until softened, before adding the minced beef. Stir and continue frying for 2-3 minutes before adding the wine. Reduce slightly, then add the oregano, all the tomatoes and the tomato puree. Season well to taste and bring to the boil. Place in a preheated oven for an hour and a half. Towards the end of the cooking time, put your spaghetti in a large pot and cook until al dente. Just before serving add some ripped up fresh basil to the sauce. Serve with your spaghetti and some grated Parmesan or strong cheddar. A green salad is also nice with this.

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