In my opinion, Spaghetti Bolognese is right up there as one of the best comfort foods. And, in my opinion, it’s one of the easiest dishes to get right. But so often, in particular in restaurants and cafés, it’s served up as a bit of a tasteless slosh of tasteless mince, token tomatoes and way too much limp pasta. I’ve never quite figured why so many places get it wrong – a touch of laziness maybe? Again, in my opinion, spag bol deserves care and attention…even if it is indeed one of the simplest dishes to make.
For me, there’s a few absolute musts for a good ol’ spag bol. Bacon to kick things off, a good base of chopped veg (onions, garlic, carrots and celery), good quality minced beef, plum(!!) tomatoes, chopped cherry tomatoes, red wine, herbs (I use rosemary, oregano, bay leaves and basil) and parmesan.
All of these deserve a decent amount of cooking time to make sure to infuse the flavours. And I like to simmer mine for at least an hour…or, even better, make ahead to bring out the maximum flavour.
Having looked around for recipes, I quite like BBC Good Food’s ‘The Best Spaghetti Bolognese’ recipe although, despite loving spicy food, I prefer to leave out the red chilli. They too use plum tomatoes…and I really rate the addition of parmesan to the whole dish before serving. Basil added during cooking and then to garnish the dish is also a great touch. Oh…as for the pasta…dried pasta (as good as fresh in my view) popped into boiling water and simmered for 12 minutes is bang on every time.
Below are the recommended ingredients for the best spaghetti Bolgnese and you can find the full recipe here.
1 tbsp olive oil
4 rashers smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 carrots trimmed and finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2-3 sprigs rosemary leaves picked and finely chopped
500g beef mince
2 x 400g tins plum tomatoes
Small pack basil, leaves picked, ¾ finely chopped and the rest left whole for garnish
1 tsp dried oregano
2 fresh bay leaves
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 beef stock cube
1 red chilli, seeded and finely chopped (optional)
125ml red wine
6 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
75g Parmesan grated, plus extra to serve
crusty bread, to serve (optional)