Spaghetti Bolognese

1) spaghetti bolognese

Yesterday’s dinner prep was for spaghetti bolognese: the meat-based sauce that originated in Bologna, Italy. We opted to undertake Heston Blumenthal’s version and dedicated 8 blessed hours to the endeavour. Was it worth the effort? Yep. Delicious!

The recipe is involved and requires preparing the meat ragu (pork shoulder and beef shank) with a soffritto and the tomato sauce separately. These sit on the stove simmering away for hours before being combined for the last two hours of cooking. We varied the recipe some by adding beef shank (rather than oxtail), red wine (rather than white), omitting the sherry vinegar and including a more traditional bouquet garni of Italian herbs (oregano, parsley). This recipe had a lot of bouquet garnis in it!

2) beef shank de-boned and cut into tiny cubes; 3) pork shoulder de-boned and cut into tiny cubes

4 & 5) carmelize onions slowly with a bouquet garni containing a crushed star anise

6) deglaze the pan with red wine and reduce by half then add back to the onions and set aside; 7) saute the soffritto

8 & 9) sear the meat in batches

10 & 11) let meat rest while you deglaze the pan again and let it reduce by half

12) add the onions and soffritto and meat into one pan and; 13) pour in a cup of milk or cream

14) top off with enough water to cover and let simmer for hours, uncovered; 15) the cream and San Marzano tomatoes (the best as they grow in the rich soil at the foot of Mt. Vesuvius

16) on to the tomato sauce, saute onions with another bouquet garni, 17) tip in the tomatoes

18) simmer away for hours; 19) one of my leek-wrapped garnis with parsley, celery leaves and tarragon

Then let these two sauces sit and simmer away, stirring occasionally.

(return 4 hours later)

20 & 21) tip the tomato sauce into the meat ragu and mix thoroughly

22 & 23) leave to simmer together another couple hours, stirring occasionally

G prepared his always-good bruschetta as an appetizer and I made up a tiny batch of vodka leek potato teasers (potato, leek, basil vodka, basil vodka chicken stock) to start us off.

24) G makes the best bruschetta

25) the vodka teasers prepares to be mixed; 26) mmmm perfection

This was followed by a
superb salad of baby greens and halved olives served with a plum tomato,
garlic and basil vodka dressing. I quickly deep-fried the tomato
skins as an additional garish. It was fabulous.

27) deep-fried tomato skins with a simple tomato/basil/vodka salad

28) preparing for the dressing; 29) the tomato skins are lightly floured before going into the fryer

30) I love how odd this picture looks; 31) deep-fried tomato skins

Make or buy some good Italian pasta and cook. Then using chopsticks ‘twirl’ the pasta into logs and plate. Top with the sauce and a generous amount of parmesan and enjoy!

32) it’s not as hard as it looks; 33) three up ready for sauce

34 & 35) finishing off the dish

36) it was, in a word, heavenly

37) a perfect dinner as the sun sets

38) we actually sat at the table (we usually just eat at the kitchen bar; 39) a great red from our trip to Chicago accompanied (from Bin 36)

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5 Responses to Spaghetti Bolognese

  1. CurryPuffy says:

    I love the idea of fried tomato skins….it’s always so nice to have someone to prepare a nice meal together! And of course enjoying the delicious wine!

  2. Anonymous says:

    wow. it only takes me maybe 30 minutes to make the bolongese sauce, it took you guys hours?! it had better be the best ever lol.

  3. christao408 says:

    What a sauce… amazing! Kudos also for the presentation. I like that idea of making pasta “logs”.

  4. ElusiveWords says:

    That looks awesome!

  5. Fatcat723 says:

    Excellent – bravo!!!

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