Spaghetti Bolognese is a classic, quintessential dish that, while originating from Italy, is enjoyed the world over and is a staple in homes and restaurants all over the UK. But a Bolognese shouldn’t be confused with a Ragù – which is a meat-based sauce that contains only a little tomato – as opposed to the plentiful amounts of tomato in a bolognese – uses white wine instead of red wine and has some other differing elements that sets it apart from the Bolognese.
I’ll cover Ragù in more depth in another recipe another time, but this time I want to focus on a my Bolognese recipe. I’m saying my Bolognese recipe here because I’ve taken a more traditional recipe and tweaked it to my own specification using flavours that I’ve experimented with over the years with a lot of success.
One of the key differences here is I’ve used beer instead of wine. I know many Italians may well be cursing my name right now, but I’ve always liked beer more than wine and so I try and use beer in my sauces over wine wherever I can. For me, the beer allows the Bolognese have a good flavour but it doesn’t overpower the flavour of the meat. To add to the richness that the wine would usually deliver, I like to add worcestershire sauce and use an oxo cube to deliver an extra meatiness, while also adding milk (which is also an ingredient of Ragù) to lighten the colour and enrich the flavour.
Spaghetti BolognesePrint Recipe
- 500g Beef Mince
- 1 x Carrot, Diced
- 1 x Celery, Diced
- 1 x Onion, Diced
- 3 x Cloves of Garlic
- 500ml Beef Stock
- 400g Passata
- 150ml Beer
- 50ml Milk
- 1 x Oxo Cube
- 2 tbsp Tomato Puree
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 x Bay Leaves
- 1 tsp Basil
- 1 tsp Oregano
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- Olive Oil
Finely dice the carrot, onion, and celery and cook in a large saucepan with a good glug of olive oil over a low heat for 15 minutes.
Finely chop or crush the garlic and add to the carrot, onion and celery and gently cook for a further 5 minutes. Make sure you don't burn the garlic otherwise it'll leave a bitter taste.
Move the veg to one side to make some space in the pan, and turn up the heat to a medium-high then add in the beef mince to the pan and cook until it's nicely browned, then mix in with the Mirepoix.
Crumble the oxo cube into the mince mixture, and then add in the tomato puree and mix it all together.
Add in the passata, beer, and beef stock and stir thoroughly.
Pour in the milk, then add the worcestershire sauce, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, bay leave and stir it all together well.
Bring the bolognese up to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low, place on the saucepan lid and leave to simmer for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove the lid and turn up to a medium heat and let the bolognese cook for another 30 minutes or so, stirring regularly, until it simmers down and the sauce thickens. You don't want a watery bolognese sauce.
Once the bolognese has simmered down to a lovely, thick - but still smooth - sauce, serve with spaghetti, a little parmesan if you want, and enjoy.