Our bolognese is very loosely based on a recipe we found on BBC Good Food but we simplified it significantly to make it a healthier option (the original required bacon) and to minimise purchasing too many ingredients we would not use again anytime soon.
Ingredients (for two):
- 800g canned tomatoes
- 18.7cl bottle of merlot
- Beef stock
- Basil leaves
- 500g minced beef
- 250g sliced mushrooms
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 onion
- 250g choice of pasta
Start with the sauce because it will take the longest. Add the canned tomatoes, red wine, stock and chopped basil leaves. Leave to simmer for about 45-60 minutes in order for it to reduce to a thick consistency. We picked Merlot because its best for stews.
Once the sauce is thick and almost ready, start on the meat. Fry the garlic and onions till brown, then add the meat.
(All recipes call for garlic and onion to be fried first in order for more fragrance and that was what I fully intended to do. I got distracted for a while and by the time I turned to the frying pan, my husband had already started frying the mince – onion and garlic still on the chopping board. He was nonchalant about it all. Since we didn’t have any other frying pans, we added the garlic and onions to the mince and fried them, hoping everything would work out.)
Once the beef starts to brown, add in the sliced mushrooms and fry till they soften.
Pour the tomato sauce into the meat and mushrooms. The mixture will be a little more watery at this point because of the juice from the meat and water from the mushrooms so leave it in the pan a while more until the water reduces.
Once all the beef is cooked and the mixture has been reduced to a thicker consistency, sprinkle in dried herbs and cheddar cheese. We chose stronger cheddar for more intense flavours, but pick vary this according to your preference. Leave to simmer on a very low heat while you cook the pasta.
I added more fresh basil and sprinkled a little more cheddar on top. It was one of the best bologneses we had ever had, and it was really easy to make because it didn’t require much skill other than boiling a few ingredients in a pot, and frying a few things in a pan. Definitely something to consider if you feel like having home-cooked food and yet want a relatively safe option.