This must be a staple in many homes so we thought we would share our recipe for a simple beef bolognese sauce. We use this same recipe to serve with pasta (spaghetti bolognese) and also as a filling for lasagne.
We find the trick to good bolognese is slow, long cooking. You can make the sauce in 25 minutes or 2 hours…but try them both and you will realise the 2 hour version is so much deeper, intense and tasty. Good bolognese starts with good beef so use a half decent quality beef.
We always use onions, celery and carrots as these melt together over a long cook and add wonderful flavour to the sauce. Another key ingredient is Marsala which we use in a lot of our cooking. Marsala is a sweet fortified wine and sweetness works great with tomato based sauces. Another thing we like to add is roasted garlic. If you ever picked up a garlic clove that has been roasted in the oven you will know why…they have a sweet, melow and smokey flavour. The final ingredient is some stock and that is pretty much the bolognese made.
- 2-3 whole tomatoes
- 3-4 large garlic cloves
- 1 celery stick, diced finely
- 1 carrot, diced finely
- 1 onion, diced finely
- 250g beef mince
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp allspice powder
- 1 tsp tomato puree
- ½ cup marsala
- 1+1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- ¼ tsp chilli flakes
- The pureed roasted garlic, roughly mashed together
- The pureed roasted tomatoes
- ½ cup tomato passata
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- ½ tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 2 bayleafs
- 2 tbsp grated parmesan
- Handful of fresh basil
- Quarter the tomatoes and add to a roasting tin with the garlic cloves (whole, unpeeled).
- Sprinkle the tomatoes with rock salt (or normal salt) and a crack of black pepper
- Drizzle with olive oil and roast at 180 degrees C for about 30 minutes
- (check that the garlic does not get over roasted-it might need removing before the tomatoes).
- Once cooked, squeeze the garlic and mash together the roasted centre
- Once tomatoes are cooled blitz in a blender to make a tomato sauce
- Saute together the onions, celery and carrots for about 5 minutes
- Add the mince, black pepper & allspice and fry on a high heat for about 5 minutes (until the mince starts to brown). Use a wooden spoon to push and separate the beef.
- Add the roasted garlic and 1 tsp tomato puree and fry for 1 minute
- Add the paprika and chilli flakes and continue to fry for 1 minute more
- Add the Marsala and scrape the saucepan while deglazing
- Allow the marsala to cook out for 1 minute on a high heat before adding the remainder of the ingredients (pureed roasted tomatoes, passata, stock, oregano, sugar, wocestershire sauce, bay leafs - Save the basil for the end).
- Mix well, turn down the heat and allow to simmer gently for a couple of hours.
- Taste after 20 minutes and add more salt or sugar to balance
- Finally when the sauce is ready stir in some grated parmesan and the fresh basil.
- Serve with pasta and a final sprinkle of grated parmesan