It's not necessarily a traditional Bolognese per say, however it was loosely based around a traditional Ragu sauce.
This is a hard one for how many it will serve, you could feed 6-8 easily, I like this for leftovers, also it freezes really well!
Preparation 15-20mins Cooking Time 30-40mins
1 tbsp Olive Oil (sunflower or vegetable oil can be used)
6 Rashers Smoked Streaky Bacon (smoked pancetta can be used instead)
1 lb (500g) Lean Beef Mince
1 Medium sized carrot
1 Stick Celery (2 if using celery heart)
1/2 Small White Onion
4-6 Garlic Cloves (to taste!)
2 Beef Stock Cube (Concentrate Liquid Stock also brilliant)
1 Vegetable Stock Cube
8 Green and 8 Black Olives
1 Medium Red Onion
1 Red Pepper
1 Yellow Pepper
1 Medium Courgette
6/8 Medium Closed Cup Mushrooms
500g Sieved Passata (can be found usually with tinned tomatoes and tomato puree)
Medium Glass Red Wine (optional but if you do, make sure it's not vinegary!)
Salt and Pepper
Dried Spaghetti (or fresh if you prefer)
Grated Parmesan or Cheddar to sprinkle on top
Serve with Fresh Garlic Bread (recipe separate)
1. Peel and very finely dice 1/2 white onion, carrot and garlic (garlic can be pressed if you prefer). Very finely dice celery and place to one side with the other diced veg, then dice the streaky bacon and in bowl to one side.
2. Now roughly dice red onion, put to one side, de-seed and roughly chop the pepper and place with the red onion. (If you're playing hide the veg! then exchange the chunky slice/dice for fine slice or dice)
3. Top and tail the courgette and the slice through the middle, slice down the middle again, now slice fairly thick slices so you get nice sized chunks, place to one side. Now half the mushrooms and then slice, you should get 4 slices out of each half, then place with the courgette. (If you're playing hide the veg! then exchange the chunky slices for fine slice or dice)
4. Finally for prep! finely dice the olives, even if you don't like to eat olives (my family doesn't), they add a specific flavour which is important.
4. Heat oil on a low heat in a large based pan, (I prefer using a wok!) then add 2 tsp of tomato puree, a splash of Worcestershire sauce and the diced vegetables and bacon. Slowly cook until onion is nearly see through and the carrot is softening, you don't want it to crisp up!
5. Now add the mince, separating it with your hands as you add it, so it covers the base of the pan! Sprinkle over the stock cube (liquid stock) and fold in using 2 wooden spoons rather than stirring with 1. Cook till the mince is browned off nicely.
6. Place a colander in a bowl and then strain the mince mixture off, reserving the juices, and return mixture to the pan.
7. Turn up to a medium/high heat. (Remember with the higher heat to keep stirring the mix so it doesn't burn). Now add the red onion and pepper and stir through. Sprinkle over the remaining beef stock cube and the vegetable stock cube, a good splashing of Worcestershire sauce and another tsp of tomato puree. If your adding red wine now is the time to do so. Then Stir through your olives.
8. Now add your courgettes and mushrooms, stir through.
9. Add Passata, bring to boil, then turn down to simmer.
10. Bring a pan of well salted water to the boil then add spaghetti required for number of people eating (refer to packaging for cooking time for spaghetti as they will vary slightly. (Now would be the time to put your garlic bread on to cook if desired)
11. Now return to the Bolognese mix and add good couple palmfuls of oregano, basil and parsley and a pinch of salt and pepper, when I do this it almost entirely covers the top of the mix in herbs! Stir through, allow to bubble for a couple of minutes and then taste using a metal spoon (it will taste different off a wooden spoon) and adjust to taste if required.
12. To test your spaghetti please don't throw it against a painted wall, this is a useless old wives tale! it sticks when undercooked! Instead, fish out a piece, using your nail/fingers pinch into 2 then look into the centre of the spaghetti, if you can see a little tube in the centre it's still undercooked, it should go opaque, if it's dubious then taste it.
13. When cooked drain the spaghetti thoroughly. Separate between bowls and top generously with Bolognese mixture. Finally top with grated cheese. Serve with Garlic Bread.
Allow any leftover to cool thoroughly before putting in air tight container/s then either store in fridge for day or so, or freeze and use within the month.