Spaghetti bolognese is one of those family meals I make so regularly that I no longer follow a recipe. I always start with a soffrito of onion, carrot and celery – sautéed in olive oil with a couple of cloves of garlic.
I’m flexible about choosing ground beef or a mixture of ground beef and pork, don’t worry about pancetta or bacon if I don’t have any, and willingly substitute stock for the wine, and passata for the tinned tomatoes. But if I have all the ingredients on hand, this is how I like to make spaghetti bolognese.
- 2 Tb olive oil
- 50g pancetta, cubed
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- a stick of celery, finely chopped
- 500g beef
- 1 cup (250ml) red wine
- 1x 400g can tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper
- 450-500g dry spaghetti
- Parmesan cheese, to serve
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and fry the pancetta.
- Add the onions, garlic, carrot and celery and cook until softened.
- Increase the heat and add the ground beef, stirring and frying until it has browned.
- Pour in the red wine and cook until it has reduced in volume by about a third.
- Lower the temperature and stir in the tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon if necessary.
- Cover with a lid and simmer over a low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is rich and thick.
- Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of boiling salted water. Drain and divide between four bowls. Add a ladle of sauce to each portion of pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.