Hello and welcome to what I hope will be a regular feature on the blog and my YouTube channel – Mealtime Monday’s! I haven’t quite figured out if this series will be a weekly or bi-monthly blog post or a stand alone YouTube video- but it’s always good to start somewhere so tonight I’m making Spaghetti Bolognese!
I love Spaghetti Bolognese (the sauce originates from one of the Italian food capitals – Bologna) like really love Spaghetti Bolognese. I can eat it every week in different variations (though the original is the best) from using beef mice to making a vegan version dependent on my mood. But nothing upon nothing beats a traditional Spaghetti Bolognese or Ragu made with rich and juicy tomato sauce and high quality beef mince.
Follow my recipe below to make your own Spaghetti Bolognese for your tea, supper, lunch or even to freeze for future use. My slow cooker recipe closely follows a recipe I was given by an Italian friend and is easy and quick to prepare. Most of all it’s really yummy when it’s finished!
For the sauce you will need:
200g of vine ripened or cherry tomatoes.
2 tsp of oregano.
2 tsp of mixed Italian herbs.
1/2 cup of red wine.
1 tbsp of red wine vinegar.
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar.
4-5 crushed garlic cloves.
1 small onion, finely chopped.
Olive oil to heat the pan.
150ml Vegetable stock.
First off cut your tomatoes in half and then cut up your onion and garlic and if you have a garlic press use this to puree your garlic. In a medium sized saucepan heat up you olive oil on a medium heat and once its hot enough add your onions and pureed garlic; making sure not to burn either the garlic or onion.
Once you have sauteed your garlic and onion add your tomatoes to the pan to gently cook; turn down the heat here if you find the onions are starting to burn slightly. Leave your tomatoes for about five minutes or until they are softened.
Next, had your oregano, Italian herbs, red wine, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar and season well with plenty of salt and pepper. Mix your herbs and spices through the tomatoes, garlic and onion then add the 150ml of vegetable stock and let it simmer for about thirty to forty minutes on a low heat. When the sauce is finished puree it using a blender and set aside. Mine looks more orange as I didn’t have enough tomatoes but you can add more tomatoes or add tinned tomatoes to make the sauce look richer.
Now on to the beef!
First leave your beef out for about twenty minutes so it gets near enough to room temperature. Frying the meat straight from the fridge can ‘shock’ the meat and make the meat go stiff and hard when you want it to be tender and soft.
Season your beef mince well with pepper and salt. In a medium sized frying pan add two tbsp of olive oil and let it heat up. Once the olive oil is heated up put the beef mince into the pan, making sure to break up the mince so that it heats evenly. Keep turning your mince until it’s nearly all cooked, adding more seasoning if desired.
Once the meat is nearly all browned off add the mince to your slow cooker and add any additional vegetables that you might like in your bolognese. I’ve added finally cut mushrooms and half a white onion to this recipe but you can add whatever you fancy.
Then add the sauce and mix the beef mince and sauce making sure to cover all the meat. Add any extra seasoning, vinegar or red wine here if you want a richer, deeper flavour. I also added a organic beef stock cube and some extra red wine to give this bolognese a really meaty flavour.
Put the slow cooker on ‘low’ for about seven to eight hours. When the meat is finished let it sit for one to two hours to let the flavours really come together. Even better have it the day after so that the flavours have really settled!
Serve with whatever type of pasta you prefer, though I always have Spaghetti Bolognese with the traditional linguine pasta that it is served with in Italy. Top with Parmigiano Reggiano for that extra Italian flair! Buon Appetito!
Disclaimer* I’m not a Vegan but I do eat a lot of plant based food and some meat. The meat that I have used for this is free-range, organic and from my local butcher. I am safe in the knowledge that the animal that produced this meat had a healthy and happy life.