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Friday, July 13, 2012

Pasta Bolognese...real Bologna style

A blog post for Bolognese seems quite redundant in a world where the nearest supermarket has an aisle dedicated to bottles and jars of ready-made so called pasta sauces.  Just add mince and stir through - Easy? Yes! Acceptable? Heck no! Just ask any Italian momma and they'd agree the true essence of the sauce is lost in translation somewhere between it's origin in Bologna, Italia to your local Woolies or Coles!  So in preparation for this very simple dish I had to make it complex, as I do, and take it back to the old, and true,way to prepare this much favoured classic dish.   
I have some golden rules when it comes to preparing this pasta sauce - and these are my rules now - they are not necessarily shared by and Foundation for the Preservation of Bolognese (or any actual existing body).

  1. Use a mixture of Beef and Pork mince (most true recipes ask just for beef)
  2. The sauce should simmer for at least 3 hours (slow cooked to build the flavours)
  3. It's a meat sauce not a sauce with (a little) meat
  4. Serve with Fettucini so that the sauce clings to the flat pasta (sorry Spag Bol lovers - you're doing it all wrong)

Ingredients, for a huge batch to feed about 10-12 people (scale down as required)
1kg x Beef Mince
1kg x Pork Mince
4tbsp x Olive Oil
250g x Pancetta
2 x Large Carrots
5 x Celery sticks
3 x Onions
750ml x White Wine
4 x 400g cans x Diced Tomato
Salt to taste 
Fettucini pasta, cooked al dente to serve
Parmesan to garnish
Coarsely grate the carrot, celery and onions
Grating is always good when someone else does it!

Add the oil to a heavy casserole pot and fry the pancetta gently 
Toss in the grated veggies and cook for 20-25 minutes until softened

Now add in the mince meat and stir through with a wooden spoon using the back of the spoon to mash any clumps
Cook the mince stirring constantly until browned and no pink bits remain
Pour in the wine and allow to reduce to a third
Now tip in the canned tomato and stir to combine 
Bring to a boil then adjust salt to taste
Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer uncovered for up to 3 hours, stirring frequently to prevent pot catching 

Sauce would have thickened and oil will begin to separate and float to the top
Adjust seasoning again
Serve immediately over a plate of piping hot fettucini (not spaghetti please!)
Garnish with grated parnesan cheese and serve

As you can see from the pics, Bolognese can be attractive too.  This recipe stays somewhat true to the original from Bologna. Its simple ingredients come together to build up its flavour in the method of cooking.  

This Bolognese is lovely and meaty and despite the short list of ingredients, is full of flavour and tastes better than any created from pasta sauce in a jar.  The secret is in the slow cooking which makes this recipe one to prepare for and cook ahead to really make it stand out.

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