Sunday, 10 April 2016

Pasta-Of-No-Specific-Shape-Or-Size Bolognese

So I'm a bit of a carnivore...if you haven't noticed. Bar a few exceptions, most of the recipes on here are of the meat variety. Pasta is no exception. Ignoring my life long obsession with pesto, green, red, made...all pesto, I basically don't eat pasta unless it's served with that weird?

Actually...hang on...that's not entirely true. My dad makes a delicious courgette pasta recipe that I love and Carluccios do a wonderful pasta funghi dish........neither of which include meat....

But for the sake of creativity, writing, blogging, all that shizzle, I do like my meats. So today I thought I'd give you my recipe for bolognese. I won't call it Spag Bol because I don't tend to use Spaghetti but call it what you will, the sauce is the same. Sauceyyy.

Pasta-Of-No-Specific-Shape-Or-Size Bolognese

1 Onion
2 Garlic Cloves
3 medium carrots, 2 large carrots, 1 ginormous carrot...carrots
1 large leek (see carrots for alternative quantities)
A medium handful of mushrooms (find someone with medium hands or make a guess)
Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper and Mixed Herbs
500g of Beef Mince
A can (or 2) of chopped tomatoes
1 Oxo Cube 

Set the oven to approximately 120 degrees C with a rack around half way up (or down depending on your philosophy in life)
1. So, first, you want to chop up your veggies, preferably into reasonably small cubes (or similar shape). I always find carrots and leeks easiest if you peel them, wash them then cut them in half once lengthways and once accross the middle then chop from there. As leeks are layered (like onions...and ogres) you'll probably end up with reasonably thin pieces but that's fine. It's all for the flavour!
2. With the onions and garlic chopped small, heat some oil up in a deep casserole type dish or saucepan, adding the onion first followed a minute or so later by the garlic on a medium/low heat. Keep watch on these cheeky cubes of flavour because they burn easily - I recommend a wooden spoon to constantly keep the pieces moving and get them all covered in the olive oil without burning.
3. Once these have had a bit of time to soften (but not brown) chuck in the carrots and leeks (as these will take longer) and then the mushrooms and mix all these lovely delicious veggies together. You can always add more oil too if needed.

4. Now the colourful healthier bits have started to soften (don't worry about them cooking fully, there's plenty of time for that) you can add the mince. Tip it all in there and break it up with the back of a spoon so that you don't have one big clump and as much of the meat as possible is able to be reached by the heat and begin browning. The aim is to get the meat from that wonderful pink/red colour it starts as to a grey/brown shade...tasty eh? Once you've hit that point, you can now chuck in some seasoning: salt, pepper, a generous handful of mixed herbs, all that melarky and toss it all around. 
5. So now, you should have a lovely smelling dish of vegetabley, meaty mix that probably doesn't look very saucy. Do not fear, my child! It is time to add the chopped tomatoes and all the nommy juices that come with it. Tip it all in there and give it a stir. You can now afford to turn up the heat a tad and allow the mix to start simmering. 

6. As it is doing so, boil the kettle, unwrap one of those crumbly Oxo cubes and create some stock in a jug or mug. When the stock cube has dissolved (or nearly dissolved) you can tip this extra liquid into the pan - use your judgement on this one though, if the sauce already seems quite liquidy, don't feel the need to bung the whole darn lot of stock in there. Chill. Put it to the side and drink it later with a biscuit...
7. Place the lid on your pot, bring the sauce to a simmer and, when gently bubbling, place the pot in the pre-heated oven with the lid on for approximately 1 hour...depending on how hungry/impatient you are. 
8. At the 15 minutes to go mark, you can now put on a pan of water to boil, add some pasta (of any shape and size) and wait. Once cooked, you can remove the pot from the oven, dish a bowl or two of pasta up, add a spoonful of meaty, tomatoey goodness on top, grate some parmesan and...........

Buon Appetito!

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