30/01/2014

Mid-Week Bolognese

Just to prove you don't need four hours of simmering and all the other guff that Italianistas seem to advocate in order to elevate what is essentially ordinary to the level that it is ...

You'll need minced beef, onion, garlic, Worcestershire Sauce, chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, dried oregano, mushrooms, carrots, beef stock, sea salt and black pepper, and pasta.

Your pasta can be any veg spiralized or julienne grated, perhaps something gluten-free which is what I'm doing tonight with Mama brand Instant Rice Noodles.

Take a large skillet and brown off your minced beef - no fat needed, just enjoy the fat that is already minced into the meat. If you bought extra-lean, well, shame on you; drop in a good blob of dripping to get it moving. Give it a damn good splash of Worcestershire Sauce.

While the meat is browning, chop up an onion, peel and slice some garlic, quarter some mushrooms and dice up a carrot. Bolognese seems to enjoy a lot of garlic, so for a pound of meat (for two), give it four or five cloves.

One the meat is browned, soak up all the lovely juices with the mushrooms, add the chopped onion and sliced garlic, stir through, add the carrots and cook on for another couple of minutes. If the spirit takes you, add a generous glass of red wine.

Pour in a carton of chopped tomatoes, a good squirt of tomato purée, some sea salt, black pepper and pour in a good pint of beef stock. Sprinkle the dried herbs over - I don't measure, just sprinkle over.

On a medium to high heat, cook on, topping up with water as necessary. Cook it for at least half an hour, or until your minced beef is not chewy. A good hint here is to cook through well at the beginning.

Once the Bolognese is reduced, cook your noodles. Mine just need 60 seconds with boiling water poured over.

Serve out, noodles down, Bolognese over; none of that proper Italian stirring the pasta into the pan, this is the British method. We don't do it wrong, we just do it our way. Fresh herbs, if you like; parsley, in my case.

So, reasonably quick mid-week meal.

If you added wine to the Bolognese, enjoy a glass with your meal. If you're just opening a bottle to enjoy with the meal, shame on you for not opening it earlier and pouring a good slug into the dish.

However you do it, remember, it's simple, quick, rules are there to be broken, but do enjoy it afterwards, slurping it down hungrily, noisily and with a huge smile on your face!

Spag Bol!

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