Spaghetti Bolognese

Being of Sicilian decent, you would think that I would have heard of a dish called Spaghetti Bolognese.  I know Lasagna, Chicken Parmesan, Gnocchi, Sfogliatelle, Veal Scaloppine, Spumonte, Biscotti and Struffoli.  But Spaghetti Bolognese?  Nope…never heard of it until I moved here to the UK.   Here, this dish seems to be the biggest and best thing since sliced bread; in fact, it’s about as common as sliced bread.  In fact, according to the notes on the recipe I’m using, it says that this is the world’s favorite spaghetti dish, loved by adults and children alike.  Have I been living under a rock?

It’s a weekly standard family meal and is a very popular frozen ready meal.  Apparently it’s rather easy to put together and just needs a bit of simmering for about an hour to bring all the flavors together.  I say ‘apparently’ because I’ve never made Spaghetti Bolognese or, as it’s referred to over here, Spag Bol.  I’ve never even eaten it either.  However, there is a first time.

As you can see, the ingredients seem pretty simple: onion, garlic, celery, carrot, canned tomatoes, red wine, beef mince and seasoning.  A tomato based meat and veg sauce for pasta.  It rather seems like comfort food to me which I have no problem with in cool weather.  I added mushrooms for extra veg and a spoonful of my Port Wine Jelly for a bit of richness.

~~SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE~~

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery sticks, chopped

50g/2 oz pancetta or streaky bacon, diced

350g/12oz lean fresh beef mince

400g/14ox canned chopped tomatoes

2 tsp dried oregano

125ml/4fl oz red wine

2 tbsp tomato puree

salt and pepper

350g/12oz dried spaghetti (I used wholewheat)

freshly grated Parmesan cheese to serve (optional)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over low heat.  Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes.

Add the garlic, carrot, celery and pancetta to the pan and saute for 3-4 minutes or until just starting to brown.

Add the beef and cook over a high heat for another 3 minutes or until the meat has browned.

Stir in the tomatoes, oregano and red wine and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes.

Stir in the tomato puree and season with salt and pepper.

Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil over a medium heat.  Add he pasta and cook according to package directions.

Transfer the pasta to four plates and pour over the sauce.  Sprinkle with Parmesan, if desired.

Serve.

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