Spaghetti Bolognese has become a standard British dish that bears little resemblance to the traditional meat sauce from Bologna, known there as ragu. A true Bolognese sauce has been cooked slowly for hours until the meat is tender and the sauce thick enough to cling to the pasta. It is a rich and unctuous sauce that works well with fresh pasta like tagliatelle too.
A secret learned from Marcella Hazan, to keep the meat tender, is to cook it in a little milk before adding the tomatoes. If you have a slow cooker it would be perfect for this recipe, as the slower it cooks the better. The preparation time isn’t long, so it makes sense to make a big batch of the sauce and freeze part of it, so you can have quick and easy Spaghetti Bolognese another day too.
Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce Recipe
350g / 12 ½ oz lean minced beef
2 tablespoons chopped onion
2 tablespoons chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped carrot
3 tablespoons olive oil
40g / 1 ½ oz butter
250 ml / 1 cup dry white wine
8 tablespoons / ½ cup milk
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
400g / 14 oz tinned Italian chopped tomatoes
Use a heavy based casserole or a slow cooker for this spaghetti bolognese recipe.
Cook the onion in the oil and butter over a medium heat until just translucent. Add the carrot and celery to the pan and continue to cook gently for two more minutes.
Crumble the minced beef into the pan, add a little salt and stir. Only cook briefly until the meat has lost the raw redness, but it should not have turned completely brown or it will be tough.
Add the wine and raise the heat. Cook stirring now and then until all thewine has evaporated.
Reduce the heat and add the milk and nutmeg. Cook stirring frequently until the milk has evaporated.
Add the tomatoes and stir in well. When they start to bubble turn the heat to minimum, so that just an occasional bubble rises to the surface. Cook ideally for 3-4 hours, checking and stirring occasionally to make sure that it isn’t sticking to the pan.
This recipe makes enough sauce for six generous servings. When you are ready to eat, reheat the sauce while the spaghetti cooks in a large pan of boiling water. Drain the spaghetti, then toss it with most of the sauce. Serve immediately with the rest of the sauce on top and freshly grated parmesan to sprinkle.
Can’t wait for your Bolognese sauce to cook? Try the spaghetti Bolognese at Latino restaurant in Nottingham.