Cooking Series - Bolognaise Sauce
Lasagna with extra bolognaise sauce spooned over the top and sprinkled liberally with Parmesan Cheese.
Hi, I took a break from the Cooking Series for a Mother’s Day post and got caught up with a busy weekend last week so I missed blogging. To make up for it, I’m posting two recipes this weekend. Today as you can tell from the title is spaghetti bolognaise. Tomorrow there’ll be my chicken and mushroom casserole recipe.
Once a week, Mum served up an Aussie version of spaghetti bolognaise. It was based on a tin of Campbell’s tomato soup. Italians the world over would despair at this, but I thought it was delicious. However in an effort to include more vegetables in the meal, I started using the more traditional method of making a bolognaise sauce. I began with Dolmio bottled pasta sauce and when Aldi came to Australia, I sampled their Romano bolognaise sauce. I really like that one too.
Carrying on Mum’s tradition, we have some kind of pasta with this sauce once a week. My partner, Sam (born here but with Italian parents) starts getting pasta withdrawal if I miss a week, so that's rare. Pasta is such comforting food and, for me, it’s easy to cook. Once I have all the ingredients combined in the saucepan I can relax with a romance novel while it simmers away.
Most people have their own family recipe for pasta sauce, I wonder if it's the same or similar to mine. If you are looking for a recipe, this is an easy one and you can adapt it to suit your individual tastes. Either way I hope you enjoy reading my favorite recipe for pasta sauce.
Ingredients list for my bolognaise sauce
250gms of minced beef. ( I use 90 – 95% fat free)
500ml tomato pasta sauce of your choice. (I use Dolmio or Romano brand)
1 cup of water
half a finely diced red onion
one medium carrot, diced or grated
one medium zucchini, diced or grated
clove of garlic grated or finely chopped
I bay leaf
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 500gm bag of dried pasta of choice
To begin, put a heavy based saucepan on medium heat to preheat while preparing the vegetables. I dice the onion, grate or dice the carrot and zucchini, using a fine grater, grate the garlic. Pour around two tablespoons of oil into the hot saucepan then tip in all the vegetables stirring them over the heat until the onion is transparent and the carrots have softened. If they brown a little it’s not a problem the caramelized vegetables will add flavor to the sauce. Next in, goes the mince. Stir this until it’s no longer pink and has broken down into a crumbled texture.
Tip in the jar of tomato sauce. I put the cup of water into the sauce jar and swish around collecting every last bit of tomato, then tip that into the saucepan too. Add the bay leaf (if small 2 or even 3) and stir everything together. When it begins to boil turn the temp down to low and put on the lid.
if I’m cooking pasta I’ll put on the pot of water to heat now. When the water boils, add the pasta and cook until it’s soft or to how you like it.
All up the sauce has 20 minutes on simmer. That’s the minimum it needs to really be nice but it can be left a lot longer, it just gets better.
Keep reading for tips and variations to this basic recipe.
I add all the vegetables together so that they have time to soften before putting in the liquid. If they don’t soften first they tend to stay hard in the tomato sauce. No idea why, that’s just what I’ve found.
I stir the sauce every so often, about every 10 minutes, to prevent the meat from forming a crust on the base.
If simmering for longer than half an hour, check to see if it needs more water. Use the pasta water, if available, to thin it out.
For a Mexican style dish, add shopped capsicum to the vegetables and spice it with half a teaspoon of cumin and a teaspoon of paprika. Add dried chili to your taste. I can only have a quarter of a teaspoon max.
You can make this sauce using chicken or turkey mince, I add a rasher of diced bacon when I do this.
If I want something super quick to prepare, I omit the onion, carrot and zucchini and instead tip in a small punnet of sliced mushrooms.
If I’m using this sauce to make lasagna, I use one box of GF sheets. If it’s for a crowd I’ll double the recipe and use 2 boxes. This will make a baking dish size lasagna.
For an easy lasagna, I put a layer of tasty cheese slices on top and skip the white sauce.
In my soon to be released novel, 'The Australian Billionaire's Secret Proposal' the housekeeper leaves this lasagna in the fridge for Jarrod's dinner, which he shares with Ruby.' I chose this dish because, nearly everyone loves lasagna and it keeps so well, I think it tastes better the next day, don't you?
Enjoy reading and cooking.
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Romance author and lifestyle blogger
My whole life is inspired by romance. I write romance novels of course but also love creating DIY's and decorating in a romantic style. I'm rejuvenating an old garden, including rescuing a couple of old rose bushes and planting new ones.