Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Spaghetti Bolognese

Have you ever felt an inexplicable attraction for a place you've never actually been to? A strange feeling of comforting familiarity with the people, food, language, customs of a country you've never visited but nevertheless feels like home? For me, the answer is yes...and the place has always been Italy. I just feel like I should have been born there or should be living there! There could be so many explanations for this, from the mundane (maybe I got this feeling from watching certain movies or reading certain books, although I don't remember any such things from childhood) to the metaphysical (past life memories?!). Eight years ago, I drew up a list of "Things to do before I die". Visiting Italy, specifically the Tuscan region, was very high on that list. I still have that printout with me and I periodically strike things from the list...hoping I'd be able to strike off my Italian rendezvous soon! Until then, I'll have to feed my Italian love affair by ordering lasagna in restaurants and making spaghetti bolognese at home!

Bolognese (in French its called Bolognaise) is a sauce, meat and tomato based, that originated in the city of Bologna in Italy. You could make it with beef, mutton, or chicken mince, or even soya granules if you like a vegetarian version. There are so many variations out there, but this is my amalgamated version from various recipes. You could make this in a pressure cooker or in just a saucepan.

To serve 4
  1. 500 g spaghetti
  2. 250 g minced meat
  3. 2 tablespoon olive oil
  4. 2 bacon rashers, chopped fine
  5. 1 large onion, chopped finely
  6. 4 cloves of garlic, crushed coarsely
  7. 1 medium carrot, grated or chopped finely
  8. 200 ml tomato puree
  9. One glass red wine (skip this, obviously, if you're a teetotaller)
  10. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  11. 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  12. A handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped finely
  13. Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  14. Salt to taste
  • Follow directions on your packet of spaghetti and cook. Drain under cold water and keep aside, drizzled with olive oil.
  • In a saucepan or pressure cooker, heat the olive oil.
  • Add the bacon rashers and fry till golden (if you are on a calorie-counting spree, omit the bacon, but let me just say that it would be a pity if you did!).
  • Now add the garlic cloves and when the lovely aroma wafts through the oil, put in the onions and fry till translucent.
  • Now add the carrots, minced meat and salt and saute till the meat loses its white raw color and all the water already in the meat evaporates.
  • Now pour in the wine and simmer for 2 to 4 minutes or until half the wine evaporates.
  • Add the tomato puree, oregano, thyme, basil, and simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Check for salt again and add as needed. Season with pepper.
  • Cook, covered, on low heat until the meat is well cooked. Or, pressure cook for 20 minutes.
  • When it is ready, serve as a gravy over the spaghetti.
  • Garnish with a basil leaf (in the picture above, I used coriander leaves as basil wasn't available).
  • You could also grate some cheese on top of the spaghetti before ladling the sauce on top.
It would be better if you cooked the spaghetti when the sauce is just about ready.


Biny Anoop said...

Awesome recipe...i love it....ur recipe is simple and clear.....

Katerina said...

Italy is a beautiful country. I wish you to be able to visit it one day. I know it's a long trip for you but life is so unexpected and surprises us many times. Spaghetti Bolognese is an all time classic dish that never fails me. I love it.

Karishma said...

@Katerina...hey, that was so sweet of you...thanks for your good wishes..if I ever make it to Italy, will drop by in Greece too :-)
@Biny-thanks, once again!