Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Spaghetti Bolognese

Everybody seems to have a slightly different recipe for spaghetti bolognese. I guess it's one of those dishes in which the best recipe is the one cooked by your mum! In any case, the essentials are the same: onion, minced beef, and tomatoes. It's the 'extra' ingredients that make the recipe your own. Bolognese sauce freezes well and any extra portion can be stored in the freezer for a few weeks.

The UK government recommends an intake of 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Did you know that a plate of spaghetti bolognese could count as 3 portion of that? There is the tomatoes and onions of course, and if you add ingredients such as diced carrots, peppers, sliced mushrooms, or even peas, it's pretty easy to make a dish that is chokeful of vegetables without even realising it. I like to add mushrooms and peppers in particular. I have mentioned my aversion to green peppers in general and this is one of the few instances when I would put green peppers in a dish (especially if I buy multi coloured ones in a pack). But I actually had just one yellow pepper that day so it went into the bolognese sauce anyway.

Spaghetti Bolognese

Ingredients (serves 2):

Spaghetti, 2 portions
Oil for cooking
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
4-5 mushrooms, chopped
1 pepper, diced
450g lean minced beef
1 large glass of red wine
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp concentrated tomato paste
Small handful of thyme/oregano/parsley, chopped (or use 1 tsp dried)
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated parmesan (optional)


1. Heat some oil in a large, heavy-based pan. Saute the onions and garlic gently over medium heat, until softened. Turn up the heat and brown the minced beef, breaking up all lumps.
2. Pour in the wine and simmer until reduced. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and herbs. Season well with salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer the Bolognese sauce for 30-60 minutes until rich and thickened, stirring occasionally.
3. Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of boiling water, according to packet instructions. Drain and divide between warmed plates. Ladle the Bolognese over each portion, finish with a scattering of grated parmesan and chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Similar recipes:
Chicken and chorizo pasta
Baked penne with chicken and salami
Cheater's meatballs with spaghetti


VeggieGirl said...

Pasta dishes are such a DELECTABLE way to take in more vegetable/fruit servings, aren't they?? Yum. Love the addition of the yellow peppers to your pasta!!

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

I love spaghetti bolognese in all its incarnations. Always interested in seeing other versions because "spag bol" is one of these dishes that everyone personalizes to their preferences.

Jules said...

Spaghetti bolognaise is one of my favourite dishes. Like you I put many different veg in my bolognaise.

Rachel@fairycakeheaven said...

This looks lovely, I have my own recipe but sometimes find it a little bland, think I might try yours the next time.

Beth said...

Bolognese is one of my fave comfort foods. You cannot go wrong with a spag bol!

Little Corner of Mine said...

Looks delicious!

Mrs Ergül said...

Yum! I love my bolognese with more sauce. in fact for many food, i like it with more sauce hehe

Kevin said...

That bolognese looks good!

didally said...

I've always use bell peppers in my pasta, prefer my pasta with more vege than meat.

Lizzie said...

Apparently a portion of your 5 a day is 80gr of fruit or veg.

I like to add a little star anise when simmering my bolognese as it adds a little hidden depth.

Nilmandra said...

Veggiegirl: Indeed, just chop them up and it's a delicious and healthy pasta sauce :)

Eating Club Vancouver: True, spag bol is a highly personalised dish, which makes it such fun to see different variations.

Jules: The veg is good for colours as well as flavour.

Rachel: Hope you'll like it. The use of different herbs and parmesan adds a lot of flavour.

Beth: Comfort food indeed!

Little Corner of Mine: Thanks!

Mrs Ergul: Yeah, but have to make sure it is not watery though. Thick sauce is great but watery pasta is just messy (think red splatter stains on clothing!).

Kevin: Thanks!

Didally: Healthier than way too :)

Lizzie: There was a feature on it on BBC Breakfast last week and they said one portion is roughly one handful (of e.g. chopped carrots, peppers, grapes, peas etc.), which kind of makes sense; larger people probably have larger hands in which case their portion should be bigger than smaller people with smaller hands etc. And it's a more practical way to visualise how much is one portion. I can't imagine weighing all my fruit/veg!

Mmm not heard of adding star anise, that's interesting. Might have to try that!

noble pig said...

I have to say this is one of my favorite dishes ever because it is so warming. I love it and the pics are wonderful too!

noobcook said...

yes, coincidence indeed that both of us posted a spag bol recipe at the same time ^^

I really love your version, so nice, with onions and fresh tomatoes, yummy yummy :)~

tigerfish said...

I like my bol of beef, onions, tomatoes and mushrooms!

bobby said...

Nice pictures, your's looking amazing I'm getting really hungry!

Toffeeapple said...

Love the post, but there is no way I could eat green pepper!

Antonia said...

A delicious looking bolognese. I always have some frozen in batches on standby - such a comforting meal. Like you, I add lots of vegetables to mine - whatever I happen to have lying around. I quite like courgettes and celery added to mine.

Nilmandra said...

Noble Pig: Thanks! Even more warming with the rest of the red wine alongside dinner ;)

Noobcook: Yup, gotta have onions in a bolognese!

Tigerfish: Must. Have. Mushrooms :D

Bobby: Thanks :)

Toffeeapple: LOL, I'm willing to 'tolerate' green peppers in some circumstances ;)

Antonia: I sometimes add diced courgettes. But celery has been banned from this house by the husband :p

Maya said...

I make mine vegetarian with different varieties of mushrooms. This is such a comforting meal.

Nilmandra said...

Maya: Mmmm mushrooooms... I love doing that too.

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