discovering a simpiler life

discovering a simpiler life

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

The best bolognese...well in my opinion

our chillis and a friends bay leaves drying

How amazing is Bolognese sauce.  It’s been bastardised and flogged to death and been given a bad rap. But think about it….It can be made into so many things. A Google search came up with over one and a half million results!! And it doesn't have to be just beef, my favourite is made with pork and veal mince or all three together if you have them.

A few years ago I was lucky enough to have a private cooking day with Fabio the Italian Chef in Tuscany and made the real deal.  I was so nervous walking into the kitchen to start the day, like the butterflies you get on the first day of starting a new job but he made me comfortable from the get go. He had broken English and I had very, very poor Italian but the powers and love of food got us threw, I must admit I was mesmerized.  We made fresh pasta including the lightest gnocchi I’ve ever eaten, tomato bruschetta, chicken liver pate, tiramisu and traditional beef Bolognese to make lasagna.  And guess what? At the end of the day I got to sit down with my family, in a banquet hall and eat it all with the local Chianti wine. Bellisimo!


The rolling hills of Tuscany

It was from this wonderful day that I picked up some tricks like mincing, or blitzing as I call it, the onion, garlic, carrot, celery for the bolognese which I now use in mine.  I also use the slow cooker but you could use a normal large pot.  I like to cook mine all day and eat it the next but I am too impatient to be standing next to a pot and making sure it doesn't burn so the slow cooker it is!! You can double or triple this recipe and freeze in small portions for a rainy day. This is also quite low in fat and jam packet with vegies so a win in many ways.

Blitzed vegies, time saver!!

Pork and Veal Bolognese
500g pork and veal mince
2 onions brown or red ones
2 celery stalks
3 – 4 cloves of garlic
2 carrots
1 zucchini
2-3 rashers of bacon, most of the fat removed
2 dried or fresh bay leaves
1 birdseye chilli, optional but it won't make the sauce hot at all
1-2 anchovies, trust me
1.5 lts of tomato passata
1 sm tin tomato paste
any rind off Parmesan you may have in the fridge

Blitz all ingredients except bay leaves, mince and tomato passata and paste. Do this in batches and at the same time heat up non-stick pan and fry meat in batches, you shouldn't need any oil or just a spritz of cooking spray and when brown add to the slow cooker. I tend to blitz the onion, garlic, anchovy, chilli and bacon in one batch and then fry it, you shouldn't need any more oil. Add that to slow cooker and do the same with the rest of the vegies.  Add passata, bay leaves, rind off the Parmesan and paste and give a good mix. Then put on high for a few hours then turning to low for the last 4 hours or so and its done ready to be turned into whatever you like but I'm making lasagna with mine and freezing the leftovers into small portions for a quick meal on those nights when I just can't be bothered.  

my mirco-plane I use for mincing garlic

Just to assure you about the rind off the Parmesan, it breaks down and adds to the depth of flavour. We go through lots of Parmesan, peeled in salads is a favourite and micro-planed over oven chippies, soup and stews so I save that hard rind and pop it in the freezer for my bolognese and minestrone soups, ah-mazing!! And while you are at it, I've mentioned it in another post, but add a little squeeze of balsamic glaze at the last minute in your bolognese, tell me you don't taste a difference!!
our homemade tomato passata
I didn't post a photo of the finished product as no matter how I took the photo it didn't look much better than dog food!! Somethings are better left to the imagination.......

Ciao, Jan

1 comment :

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