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Kat's chunky pasta bolognese recipe

Kat's chunky pasta bolognese recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Beef
  • Beef pasta

This chunkier version of beef pasta bolognese is perfect for using up all those extra bits of veg in your fridge, it's also a great way in making this dish go further. The aroma from this dish whilst cooking is amazing, given the red wine, garlic and fresh basil, which to me is a marriage made in heaven on its own.

1 person made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • olive oil, as needed for cooking
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 500g to 700g beef steak mince
  • 1 courgette, chopped
  • 1 handful sliced mushrooms
  • 2 peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic,minced
  • 2 (400g) tins chopped tomato
  • 1 small glass red wine
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons tomato puree
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • chopped fresh basil, to serve

MethodPrep:15min ›Cook:30min ›Ready in:45min

  1. Assemble your ingredients.
  2. In a pan on medium heat, add a little olive oil then add the onion and cook for a few minutes until softened, about 4 to 6 minutes. Add beef mince and cook and stir until browned. Drain any excess oil away (I do this by turning out the pan contents in a sieve or colander) and return the mince to pan.
  3. Add your vegetables and garlic and give a good stir.
  4. Add both tins of chopped tomatoes and a small glass of red wine. Stir in the tomato puree and season.
  5. Simmer your sauce for approximately 20 minutes or until the beef is no longer pink and the sauce has cooked down and thickened. A few minutes before serving add your fresh chopped basil.
  6. You can either serve mixed in with pasta or on top.

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Recipe Summary

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • ½ pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 (28 ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes
  • 6 ounces tomato sauce
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound pasta

In a large skillet, warm oil over medium heat and saute bacon, onion and garlic until bacon is browned and crisp set aside.

In large saucepan, brown beef and pork. Drain off excess fat. Stir in bacon mixture, mushrooms, carrots, celery, tomatoes, tomato sauce, wine, stock, basil, oregano, salt and pepper to saucepan. Cover, reduce heat and simmer one hour, stirring occasionally.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente drain.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • ½ cup finely diced celery
  • ½ cup finely diced carrot
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 ½ cups 2% milk
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
  • 2 cups water, or as needed

Melt butter with olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat cook onion, celery, and carrot with pinch of salt until onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir ground beef into vegetables and cook, stirring constantly until meat is crumbly and no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Season meat mixture with 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg.

Pour milk into ground beef mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring often, until most of the milk has evaporated and bottom of pan is still slightly saucy, about 5 minutes.

Raise heat to medium high and pour white wine into ground beef mixture cook and stir until white wine has mostly evaporated, about 5 more minutes.

Pour tomatoes with juice into a large mixing bowl and crush them with your fingers until they resemble a slightly chunky sauce. Pour tomatoes into sauce fill can with 2 cups water and add to sauce. Bring to a simmer.

Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring often, until mixture cooks down into a thick sauce, at least 3 hours but preferably 4 to 6 hours. Skim fat from top of sauce if desired. If sauce is too thick or too hot on the bottom, add a little more water. Taste and adjust seasonings before serving.


Heat the olive oil in a large pan or stock pot

Add the diced onions and stir to coat in oil

Add in the mince, garlic, peppers and mushrooms and cook, stirring regularly for about 6-8 minutes until the vegetables are softened and the mince cooked

To the pan add 1 tbsp of oregano and 1 tbsp basil, along with the tomato puree and tinned tomatoes

Stir the mixture to combine and add a little bit of boiling water if it is hard to stir

bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer

Cover and simmer for 15 minutes while you cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions

When the time us up, stir the remaining dried herbs into the bolognese and leave on the simmer while you serve your spaghetti

Spoon over the bolognese, finely grate over the veggie parmesan and grind over some pepper

Enjoy with a huge comforted smile on your face!

Mmmm, comfort food is the joy of the colder months, don’t you think?

How are you making up for the cold wet weather? Are you filling up on comfort food like my veggie spaghetti bolognese?


These Italian Grannies Want You To Know All Their Pasta Secrets

“Oh, Tim, no,” responded one commenter. “Nope,” simply said another. “A good recipe (except the mushrooms),” allowed a third.

“That’s Spaghetti Shipman,” someone said. “It might as well be Spaghetti Antarctica for all its connection to Bologna.”

It did inspire people to share their own versions – one vegetarian uses Quorn mince alongside sofrito: the aromatic holy trinity of finely diced celery, carrot and onion. Others take a more freestyle approach. “Absolution from the Pope for trying to pass that off as spaghetti bol,” wrote one Twitter user of this pic.

Spag Bol, properly done. No carrot. Lots of Italian red. Thank you.

&mdash John Sweeney (@johnsweeneyroar) November 15, 2020

Who knew such a stalwart pasta dish could be this divisive? To carrot or not to carrot? Red or white onion? Chunky or finely chopped? And what of the much maligned mushrooms?

To settle some of these key questions, we thought we’d better talk to some top pasta chefs to borrow their culinary know-how and ensure no Italians need roll in their graves ever again.

Elia Sebregondi, head chef and owner of London pasta restaurant, Officina 00, lists his “must-have ingredients” for spaghetti bolognese as: beef mince, pork mince, extra olive oil, carrot, celery, onion, tomato sauce, milk and red wine.

“Carrots are definitely needed because they give a sweet touch which balances out the ragu,” says Sebregondi. “Normally, white onions must be used, but if you use red onion then skip on the carrots as you will have sweetness from those. I definitely don’t use mushrooms. Onions must be finely chopped and the same with the carrot and celery, so they melt in the sauce and spread evenly.”

Each component and ingredient plays a crucial part in the whole, he says. From the type of tomato used to the correct herbage – bay leaves while cooking and fresh chopped parsley at the end – it’s not just a case of sticking things in and hoping for the best. Spaghetti bolognese is a slow and steady race.

“It must be cooked slowly and each step takes a long time,” says Sebregondi, who favours San Marzano tomatoes, which have more pulp and less water. “When you think it’s ready, add some milk and simmer again. This makes the sauce creamier – without it, it tends to split. And the milk will melt better together with the spaghetti – you heard it here first!”

For those who want to have a go at making the ultimate spaghetti bolognese at home, try Stefano Cilla’s recipe. He’s currently running the kitchen at Bancone, and definitely knows a thing or two about pasta.

For a next-level dish, he suggests shopping for high-quality and fattier meat. “It’s important to look for a slightly higher percentage of fat in meat, as it’ll result in a deeper, richer, and tastier dish.” And he’s with Sebregondi that the most important factor for show=stopping spaghetti bolognese is a long simmer time.

“It’s not a speedy dish as some might think,” he explains. “It’s a slow one and needs a lot of patience. Certainly no horrible mushrooms or big bits of onion!”

Here is Stefano Cilla’s definitive recipe.

Chunky bolognese

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  • 1 brown onion (approx. 150 g), cut into halves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 20 g olive oil
  • 700 g tomato passata or sugo
  • 50 g tomato paste
  • 30 g water
  • 20 g Worcestershire sauce (optional - see Tips)
  • 1 tbsp Meat stock paste (see Tips)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • &frac18 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • 700 g beef mince, broken into pieces

Everything you need to know to master the quintessential meat sauce

Every cuisine has its core recipes, the fundamental dishes and techniques that set it apart from the rest of the world. I’m breaking down my 10 essential Italian dishes, sharing everything you need to know to master them and become a superstar Italian cook.

What It Is: Ragu alla bolognese is one of Italy’s most famous recipes, and it’s no surprise why. The slow-simmered meat sauce that hails from Bologna in northern Italy is more than 200 years old, and was first made with veal – and without tomatoes! The preparation evolved over time to the ground beef ragu we know today, though local chefs still argue over whose recipe is the best.

And while spaghetti bolognese is a common catchphrase around the world, the pasta preference in Bologna is for freshly made tagliatelle. Its wide, flat surface is just the thing to catch all that deliciously chunky sauce in every bite. At home, you can use dried fettucine or pappardelle, or even a short pasta like rigatoni or penne, whose hollow tubes will hold plenty of rich ragu.

Why I Love It: It’s not instant by any means, but for less than an hour’s time on the stove, you end up with a complex, fully flavored sauce that tastes like it’s been simmering all day long. This bolognese can top pasta alone or serve as a lasagna filling, and it also freezes amazingly well, so I always make a double batch whenever I can. Let it cool completely before placing it in the freezer, and future you will have a fabulous weeknight dinner in just as much time as it takes to boil pasta.

How It’s Done: The soffrito of carrots, celery, onion, and garlic is the flavor foundation of a perfectly balanced bolognese. The vegetables should melt into the finished sauce, rather than stand out on their own as distinct chunks. To get it right, chop your vegetables small and give them enough time to soften before adding the ground beef to the pan. (You can use a food processor to chop your veg, just be aware that they will release more liquid and you’ll need to cook it all off before moving on to the next step.) For the beef, I always use ground chuck, with an 80/20 ratio of meat to fat. This is not the place for ultra-lean ground beef! You need a little extra fat here to give a velvety feeling to your sauce.

Traditionally, a bolognese would be finished with a splash of heavy cream to smooth out the sauce, but I like to add a good handful of grated pecorino romano instead, which gives it that creamy texture with an added salty punch. Toss your pasta in the sauce pan to coat every strand, and serve!

Sunday Supper: Pasta alla Bolognese

Last week, I shared a recipe for my mother’s Sunday Sauce. This week, I want to show you how the Sunday Sauce can be used to make another Italian favorite, Pasta alla Bolognese. This pasta sauce originated in Bologna, Italy way back in the 18th century. It consists of a tomato based sauce mixed with ground meat. Traditionally, it is served on top of tagliatelle or another long pasta like linguine.

After years of making it, I prefer a shorter pasta like penne or my favorite - rigatoni. Reason being, I love how the chunky meat sauce gets caught in the middle of each pasta piece giving you the perfect bite of pasta and meat. With the longer varieties, I find that I eat the pasta and the meat all slides to the bottom of the bowl. In short, any pasta will do - it’s just a matter of taste.

Another way I veer from tradition is with the soffritto. Soffritto is a sauté of celery, onion and carrot as the base for the sauce. I’ve made this sauce so many times and honestly, I don’t see the point of the carrot and celery. I know Mario Batali might disagree, but my family NEVER puts carrots in the sauce. I made sauce once for my mom with carrots in it and to this day, she still teases me about it. “Remember when Anna put carrots in the sauce?” It didn’t go over well.

Therefore, my version of Pasta alla Bolognese might not be 100% traditional but I promise, it’s very good and Nonna Gina approved - which is all that matters to me!

How to Make Marcella Hazan’s Bolognese

You’ll begin by cooking the onion in a mixture of vegetable oil and butter until translucent. Add the celery and carrots and cook for about 2 minutes, then add the ground chuck, season with salt and pepper, and cook, breaking up the meat, until just cooked through. Add the whole milk and simmer until completely evaporated, then stir in freshly grated nutmeg, followed by white wine. Simmer until evaporated, then stir in canned chopped tomatoes and their juices and simmer very gently for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. You can add water during the cooking process, but by the end “no water at all must be left and the fat must separate from the sauce.”

Best Bolognese Sauce Recipe with T-fal Jamie Oliver Professional Stainless Steel Cookware

I love cooking and I am always excited to learn something new when it comes to perfecting different dishes. And even though I’ve been cooking since I was eight years old, one of my most important lessons in the kitchen didn’t come until I was an adult. That lesson was this: the right tools make a big difference in the results.

When I first moved out on my own, I bought the cheapest set of cookware I could find and I used it for years. After having children, I gradually started upgrading my kitchenware and almost immediately, I knew I’d been missing out. From a few cast iron frying pans to a proper set of quality cooking knives, quality items don’t just make preparation easier, they make the finished dish better too.

But I still hadn’t upgraded to a top-quality set of pots and pans when to my delight, T-fal came to my rescue and offered me the chance to cook up something delicious with the Jamie Oliver 9pc. Professional Stainless Steel cookware set. I ‘d been wanting to master Bolognese Sauce for quite some time but I hadn’t had the proper size pot to do it, so with my new cookware in the cupboard, I set out to tackle this family favourite.

The nice thing about Bolognese Sauce is that while it is time-intensive (over three hours from start to finish), it really isn’t that labour intensive. An occasional stir of the pot every twenty minutes or so is all the sauce needs. And since my pot featured triple-layer high impact bonded base featuring two of the best conductors, copper and aluminum, I knew that my sauce would simmer evenly the entire time it was on the stove.

The other nice thing about this sauce is that it freezes fabulously, so making a double or triple batch ensures quick future meals. Just take the sauce off the burner and allow it to cool before adding the cream, then package it up for the freezer!

Personally, I’m a big believer that fresh herbs make everything better, and at this time of year there are plenty of them! I mixed in about quarter of a cup of minced oregano, dill and basil at the same time as the cream to add some extra flavour to the dish. The results were fantastic!

And cooking with the T-fal Jamie Oliver Professional Stainless Steel cookware was fantastic as well. Once more high-quality cookware had made the difference in the results of my meal even if I’d had the perfect size of pot for my sauce, I know that it wouldn’t have simmered as evenly and the flavours wouldn’t have blended as well if I’d used a cheaper cookware set!

I can’t wait to cook up something else with this set now that I’ve seen for myself how great the results are. The quick and even heating makes cooking an absolutely breeze and I love the stylish look of the stainless steel too. Find the T-fal Jamie Oliver Professional Stainless Steel cookware set online or exclusively at Hudson’s Bay and add that extra something special to your cooking!