This week in cooking club, I told the boys I was going to teach them a recipe that everyone should know how to make. They guessed things like “cake”, “cookies” and “pizza” but were not disappointed to find out that the secret dish was none other than Bolognese sauce! I love Jamie’s version because it packs a great fibre punch through the addition of all the veggies and I added mushrooms as well since I love them in my pasta sauces.
Some fine cutting (and grating) techniques were, again, on display (though I had to cut the onions this week – boo!)…
We applied pressure with a paper towel and he was good to go with a bandaid, though he asked very politely if he could refrain from cutting any more, so I finished his carrots for him! Liam took charge of the “stirring” which he proved to be a master of!
Jamie Oliver’s Bolognese Sauce
2 slices of smoked bacon, preferably free-range or organic
2 medium onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 celery stalks
(we added mushrooms – about a cup of finely sliced button mushrooms)
2 heaped teaspoons dried oregano
1 lb good quality ground been, pork or (even better!) a mix of the two
2x 14 oz cans diced tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a small bunch of fresh basil
4 oz parmesan cheese
1 lb dried spaghetti or penne
To make your sauce:
Finely slice the bacon. Peel and finely chop the onions, garlic, carrots and celery – don’t worry about technique, just chop away until fine.
Place a large casserole-type pan on a medium to high heat. Add 2 lugs of olive oil, your sliced bacon and the oregano and cook and stir until bacon is lightly golden.
Add the vegetables to the pan and stir every 30 seconds until softened and lightly coloured, about 7 minutes. Stir in the ground meat and the canned tomatoes. Fill both empty cans with water and add to the pan (we didn’t do this – it was watery enough already, and I had already drained the tomatoes). Stir in a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Pick the basil leaves and add the stalks to the pan. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer with a lid on for about an hour, stirring every now and again to stop it catching.
Remove Bolognese sauce from the heat. Finely grate the parmesan and stir half into the sauce. Tear and stir in any larger basil leaved, keeping the smaller ones for sprinkling over before serving.
Mix up, have a taste, and season with a little more salt and pepper if needed – congratulations – you now have a beautiful Bolognese sauce!
At this stage, you can allow it to cool, bag it up and freeze it, or eat it straight away with pasta.
To cook your pasta and serve:
Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Add your pasta and stir, following directions on the packet until al dente.
Drain the pasta and return to the pan. Add half the Bolognese sauce to the cooked pasta and mix well, adding a little of the reserved cooking water to loosen.
Divide between your plates and spoon the remaining sauce over the top. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle the rest of the parmesan over top and scatter with the rest of the basil leaves – bellissima!
Again, this was SUCH an easy recipe that even with minor medical emergencies (!) we were still finished in about 40 minutes!
As you can see – it was a hit yet again! And check out what these lucky guys packaged up and brought home!!! Even Henry who claims to not like carrots and mushrooms devoured his portion and gave it an enthusiastic 11/10. Charles gobbled up his portion too and bestowed a 10/10, whilst Oliver declared it “fabulous”. Liam, well he was a bit tired after all his adventures and still couldn’t think of an adjective to describe the food (I guess he was still mulling over the “gushing blood” incident!!).
And now to the winner of the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution cookbook giveaway…
Random Number Integer chose #2 Belinda@Zomppa who is a regular reader and commenter. Congratulations – I will be in touch with you soon for your mailing address so we can get you the Food Revolution cookbook as soon as possible!
Thanks again to the folks at YC Media for offering this book as a giveaway on the occasion of my blog birthday!