Change your life BOLOGNESE
Mel’s versatile Bolognese recipe
1kg premium beef mince
1 large onion finely sliced
3-6 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons fresh oregano/thyme/margoram or use 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb mix
1 carrot finely diced or grated
1 celery stalk finely grated
1 pinch nutmeg (very important!)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 teaspoons beef stock powder or 2 stock cubes
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 jar passata (500-700ml)
1)First thing you should do is heat and grease a large pan until just about smoking hot. Now add the mince…we want the mince to sizzle when it hits the pan and IT SHOULD SIZZLE nice and loud and sexy.
DO NOT STIR, I know you are worried about this burning and you are also worried about lumps, but let the mince brown and seal on the first side you put down FIRST and let the pan heat up again and THEN you can stir ever so slightly just to get some more mince onto the base of the pan. My favourite mince ‘fluffer’ is one of those cheap plastic coated whisks you get at the supermarket that only have about 4 loops. If you don’t have one of those use a strong plastic spoon or egg flip to break down the mince.
2)Once the mince is brown and fragrant and sexy ALL BY ITSELF, then and only then do you add the finely chopped onion and garlic. There should be enough oil out of the mince that you have rendered off during your amazing sizzle-cooking of the mince at a nice high heat. If not add the olive oil. You can stir as much as you like now by the way, that mince is SEALED off!
3) Now add the herbs, nutmeg, stock powder, grated/diced carrot and seasoning and stir through. Amazing colour isn’t it!
4)Finally add the chopped tomatoes, vegetables and passata and you’re practically done. Turn down the heat and let that all cook through and then check the seasoning and it’s ready to serve.
This way of cooking will not only save you time, BUT it will add valuable flavour and vibrant personality to your otherwise boring mince.
Serve with fresh al dente spaghetti, shaved parmesan and lots of freshly chopped parsley.
Mel’s Note: I love to get creative with my mince and change the spices thus changing the flavour.
Quickie Cheese Sauce in case you decide to make lasagna one day!
100 g plain flour
1 liter milk
200g grated cheese
3 ml salt
ground pepper to taste
1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and then take off the heat.
2. Grab a whisk and whisk in all of the flour until it form a smooth paste. This sexy little paste is called a ‘roux’.
3. Once smooth add the milk a little bit at a time WHISKING so you incorporate the milk in slowly, don’t go all in with the milk as this will be difficult to get rid of the lumps! Slow and steady wins the race here.
4. Once nice and smooth, return to the head all stir unti this gorgeous silky sauce starts to boil and the flour has cooked through. You MUST stir pretty much the whole time, or else the bottom tends to burn. It only needs to boil once.
4. Once this has cooked through, remove from the heat and add the salt, pepper and the cheese. Always taste your food, it shows you care.
5. The sauce should stir be hot enough to melt that grated cheese.
So worth it!
Your Foodie Godmother