Bolognese Sauce

A good Bolognese sauce is an Italian classic. In Italy it is made in many different ways, using all sorts of wines and herbs, but I like this way because it’s really reliable, tasty, and simple. The classic pastas to serve this with are spaghetti, tagliatelle, and penne, but this sauce can also be used for many other things. Like filling cannelloni — or layering up a lasagna. With so many options, it’s well worth bagging up any leftover sauce and freezing it for another day.

Recipe courtesy of Jamie's Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver; Copyright Hyperion, 2009

Bolognese Sauce

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    2 slices smoked bacon, preferably free-range small bunch fresh basil
    1 pound good-quality ground beef or pork, preferably organic (or a mixture of the two) 2 celery stalks
    2 medium onions 4 ounces Parmesan cheese
    two 14-ounce cans of diced tomatoes olive oil
    2 cloves of garlic 1 pound dried spaghetti or penne
    2 carrots 2 heaped teaspoons dried oregano


    Prep: 1 hour Total: More than 60 min
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    • 1

      To make your sauce: Finely slice the bacon. Peel and finely chop the onions, garlic, carrots, and celery — don’t worry about technique, just chop away until fine

    • 2

      Place a large casserole-type pan on a medium to high heat. Add 2 lugs of olive oil, your sliced bacon, and the oregano and cook and stir until the bacon is lightly golden. Add the vegetables to the pan and stir every 30 seconds for around 7 minutes or until softened and lightly colored.

    • 3

      Stir in the ground meat and the canned tomatoes. Fill both empty cans with water and add to the pan. Stir in a good pinch of salt and pepper

    • 4

      Pick the basil leaves and place in the refrigerator for later. Finely chop the basil stalks and stir into the pan. Bring to a boil; turn the heat down and simmer with a lid on for about an hour, stirring every now and again to stop it catching.

    • 5

      Remove the Bolognese sauce from the heat. Finely grate the Parmesan and stir half into the sauce. Tear and stir in any larger basil leaves, keeping the smaller ones for sprinkling over before serving. Mix up, have a taste, and season with a little more salt and pepper if needed — congratulations! You now have a beautiful Bolognese sauce. At this stage you can allow it to cool, bag it up and freeze it, or eat it straightaway with the pasta below.

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