Is there anything more homely and comforting than spaghetti bolognese?
It’s one of those dishes that immediately makes me feel cosy. Like a hug in a bowl.
A big meaty, tomato-y, carby, cheesy bowl of comfort and goodness.
When Winter comes, I like to make big batches of this bolognese sauce, and then eat it heated up for lunch.
The protein keeps me full, and it feels warm and indulgent, but it’s also low in carbs and calories (when I don’t have the pasta). Which means I don’t get the carb-induced urge to nap away the afternoon!
(I actually have this for in my lunchbox for today and I’m already excited.)
Everyone has their own way of making bolognese.
Gary adds broccoli when he makes it (I know, I don’t get it either), along with a bit of chilli powder and lotsssss of red wine.
My mum told me a few years ago that she’s always grated extra carrot and courgette into her bolognese. That way, we got extra veg in us, and she didn’t have to put up with our moaning about it!
Personally, I like my sauce to be thick, rich and full of deep flavour. Red wine, beef stock and chopped tomatoes provide the base. So far so regular. But then I add in my secret bolognese sauce ingredients: HP brown sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and dark soy sauce.
It might sound weird, but trust me on this one! The salty soy and the deep flavours of the Worcestershire and HP brown sauce, really helps kick things up to a whole new level.
Let it all simmer and bubble away on the stove, or pop it in the oven for a bit, and watch your bolognese sauce darken as those flavours develop.
Then spoon it over some al dente spaghetti, sprinkle with freshly grated cheese, and sink into the sofa to enjoy your bowl of goodness…
Is it lunch time yet?
The Perfect Spaghetti BolognesePrint Recipe
- 1kg good quality beef mince
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 carrots
- 1 large onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 cans chopped tomatoes
- 1 large glass of decent red wine
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tbsp HP brown sauce
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 beef stock pot or stock cube
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tbsp rosemary
- 1 tbsp thyme
- Salt and pepper
Prep your veg first - this will make everything quicker and easier later on! Wash the carrots, then chop off the ends and slice each one into rounds about half a centimetre thick. Chop the rounds into quarters. Peel and chop your onion pretty finely. Peel the garlic cloves. Season the beef with a general sprinkling of salt and pepper.
Pop a big, deep pot or pan* on the stove, drizzle with 1 tbsp of the olive oil, and turn the heat to medium.
Once the oil is sizzling, throw in your seasoned beef and stir until it's all broken up and browned. Once it's cooked, drain the excess fat and move the meat to a plate.
Put the pan back on the heat, add the rest of the oil, and once it's hot: add the onions, garlic and carrots. Make sure the heat is on medium-low, as you want the onions to cook slowly for about 5 minutes. This will make them sweet and utterly yummy!
Once the onions are soft and translucent, but not brown, pop the meat back in the pan. Throw in the tomatoes, wine, puree, HP brown sauce, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and water, and stir gently to combine. Then add the herbs and stir again.
Finally, crumble over your stock cube, or plop your stock pot in the centre of the pan. Leave this to melt for a couple of minutes, then stir until everything is properly mixed together.
Check the taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.
Let the bolognese bubble away on the stove, on a medium-low heat, for about half an hour. Stir occasionally, so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. If your pot is oven-proof and has a lid, you could also now pop it in a hot oven for half an hour, which will do the same job and won't require as much chaperoning!
Once most of the water has evaporated, you'll be left with a really thick and meaty sauce. Serve hot, with cooked pasta, mashed potato, or simply on it's own with a bit of cheese!
*I use a really deep frying pan - but any big deep pan or pot would work. If you have a big Le Creuset pot, now is the time to use it!
PS. I took these photos using the Custom WB settings I talked about yesterday. LOOK HOW WHITE THAT BOWL IS. *praise hands emoji*