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Monday
Apr122010

Pete’s Bolognese Sauce

This is all you need to know about making a bolognese sauce - all optional items covered depending on your audience, all slow simmering and order of events explained - there are many arguments over how to make bolognese and the traditional versus new etc - start with this one and tweak it how you like.

I personally love half veal and half pork mince. Serve with a fresh green salad.

"Ok the first one, but in some ways the most important. You might think that this is a bit pedestrian but keep on reading"– Peter Vanderwal.


Pictured: Pete’s Bolognese Sauce

1 bulb garlic, crushed
4-5 rashers bacon, bacon rind separated, then chopped
500g lean beef mince
2 large onions, chopped
Dried basil
Dried oregano
3 bay leaves
2 cans tomatoes
1 tub tomato paste, optional addition of 3 tbsp kecap manis
Red wine - I’m a sucker for a Shiraz for it, but whatever your taste is
Salt and Pepper
Bunch fresh basil
Optional –
Carrot, chopped
Celery, chopped
Mushrooms, chopped
1 chilli, chopped
1 tbsp raw sugar
To serve –
Pasta
Parmesan

Put 1 garlic clove into dry saucepan with the bacon rind, wait til bacon fat has melted, then add the lovely lean mince in with the bacon rashers– brown off, then take off the heat and drain the excess fat.

In a separate, large, casserole pot brown the onions and the rest of the crushed bulb of garlic. Season liberally with dried basil and oregano, or thyme and rosemary – and I mean liberally. Also put three or so bay leaves in towards the end.

Once this is soft and yummy, whack the bacon and mince in, bump up the heat, not too hot but warm enough, add a small splash of wine to deglaze the pan then add two tins of decent tomatoes, and a tub of tomato paste and the kecap manis if using - this adds a sweet smokiness that lifts the dish beautifully and can also be used to replace the depth of the flavour the bacon imparts, and its smoky flavour. This will start to bubble and boil, this is when you need to start with the red wine - I find that by the time I’ve sauced it up, reduced it, and sauced it up again, I’ve usually gone through the better part of a bottle of wine.

If you want to change the texture at all because you find that you’re making this at least once a week (this does happen, it’s that good), very finely chopped celery can be very nice in it, as can carrot. Mushrooms aren’t traditional, but neither am I, as evidenced by my very occasional tendency to use a single chilli to spice things up..., all added at the same stage as the onion. I haven’t mentioned the salt and pepper seasoning, this is a personal affair, but I should add that if the moment takes you, a tablespoon of raw sugar can do very nicely – for the record I love copious amounts of pepper, and I’m not sodium-phobic either!

Simmering is the key here, flavours need to meet each other and become best friends, like some groovy club from yesteryear, steaming about and talking deep and meaningful for prolonged periods of time, mmmmmmmm.......... I would recommend at least an hour, which is probably why I use so much wine. It’s best to have at least two on hand, at bare minimum, to keep the simmering company!

Fresh basil can be stirred through at the very end for added mmmm factor, or used as a garnish.

For the pasta, I often go for spirals or shells – catches all the yumminess all the better. Obviously though, this goes well with any pasta, and there’s something very very satisfying about spaghetti with it.

Obviously heaps of fresh parmesan and more fresh cracked pepper to dish up with.

Now, you’re almost ready to tuck in, but what you have to remember here (you don’t need to tell them that are about to eat it – they will know once they taste it) is that the secretest ingredient, what makes this the best bolognaise in the world, is LOTS AND LOTS OF LOVE! This is comfort food par excellence, it will cure what ails you, make you warm on a cold night, make you happy when you’re sad, and will fill you up with all things GOOD! Bear this in mind when you are making it, and it will be a rewarding and delicious meal for all!

Serves at least 4

Pictured: Final Dish - Pete's Bolognese Sauce with Pasta