Spaghetti bolognese

I love this recipe.  I’ve had spag bol everywhere from takeaway joints to seemingly swish ristorantes.  I don’t recall anything as tasty as this.  Of course, it’s about as Italian as Domino’s, but a whole lot nicer.  I daresay it’s an English recipe from when old Mum was there in the 1960s.  Well, put it this way, I don’t think Worcestershire is on the Amalfi Coast.

To get you salivating, I recommend you enjoy this recipe with the following icon of 1970s wine culture:

Pour cask wine

But labour before gratification (on this occasion at least).  Here are the ingredients with an approximate price.  It looks more expensive than it really is.  Most of the list is reusable.  If you take out the stuff you can use again, you’ll feed a family for about $10!  And if, unlike me, you don’t try to defend the nation by avoiding house brands, it could be even cheaper!

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil – sorry, no price for this – I pinched it from old Mum.

2-3 large cloves of garlic – $1.18 per bunch:


1 large brown onion – $0.59 each:


500g beef mince – $6.96 per packet:

Mince beef

2 tbsp tomato ketchup – $1.50 per bottle:

Tomato ketchup

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce – $3.30 per bottle:

Worcestershire sauce

1 tin crushed tomatoes – $1.40 each (I guess it’s worth it for the smiles):

Crushed tomatoes

140g tub tomato paste – $2.20 for 2 tubs:

Tomato paste

1 heaped tbsp brown sugar – $2.20 per packet:

Brown sugar

0.5 tspn dried basil – $2.40 per jar:


0.5 tspn dried oregano – $2.30 per jar:


0.5 tspn dried cinnamon – $2.65 per jar:


0.5 tspn dried nutmeg – $3.15 per jar:


4 bay leaves – $1.50 per packet:

Bay leaves

And, lastly, your favourite pasta – around $1.70 per packet:


Now let’s get cooking!

Step 1 – crush garlic thoroughly:

Garlic crushed

Step 2 – chop onion finely:

Onion chopped

Step 3 – pour oil in deep frying pan and put on medium-high heat.  Avoid the temptation to use more than 3 tbsp – trust me – that’s plenty and you’ll regret any more:

Pouring oil

Step 4 – place garlic in oil:

Adding garlic

Step 5 – spread garlic out and cook until light brown (this can happen rather quickly so keep your eyes open):

Browning garlic

Step 6 – place onion in oil:

Adding onion

Step 7 – spread onion out and stir until it becomes soft and golden.  Old Mum says I haven’t yet mastered this step so by all means go further than I have below.  Even if you go way overboard and the onion starts to caramelise, it isn’t the end of the world:

Browning onion

Step 8 – add mince meat.  Some people find handling raw meat disgusting.  It always gives me a shudder of carnivorous pleasure like I’m one of the big cats about to enjoy my prize.  Whatever your emotional state, just get it into the pan:


Step 9 – once the mince is flat in the pan, start breaking it down into smaller pieces using your wooden spoon.  You want to avoid large lumps.  That said, you don’t want to pound it so fine that the meat won’t hold the flavours to come:


Step 10 – cook mince, using wooden spoon, until brown:

Mince brown

Step 11 – add crushed tomatoes.  Use a little bit of water to rinse out the tin, shake the tin (preferably covering the end with your hand) and pour that mixture in as well.  Stir:

Pour crushed tomatoes

Step 12 – add tomato paste.  As with the crushed tomatoes tin, rinse out the tub with a little bit of water and add that too:

Pour tomato paste

Step 13 – just when you were finding the technicolour red perturbing, lower the heat and add 2 tbsp tomato sauce.  Stir:

Pour ketchup

Step 14 – break into song with Land of Hope and Glory and add 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce.  Stir:

Pour Worcestershire sauce

Step 15 – add salt and pepper to taste – the following photograph shows pepper for illustrative purposes only. Old Mum advised me to shake the salt shaker and twist the pepper grinder for best results:

Add pepper

Step 16 – add 1 heaped tbsp brown sugar.  It’s weird, I know, but it’ll be worthwhile.  Add a bit of water and stir:

add brown sugar

Step 17 – arrange herbs and spices on dish (this avoids the risky business of holding an open jar over a pan).  That’s 0.5 tspn each of basil, oregano, cinnamon and nutmeg:

Herbs and spices

Step 18 – add herbs / spices, stirring and adding a little bit of water after each. Don’t overdo the water:

Insert herbs and spices

Step 19 – place 4 bay leaves and simmer for a good few minutes.  Keep an eye on moisture levels.  Add a bit more water if it looks like it’s beginning to stew:

Insert bay leaves.JPG

Step 20 – prepare pasta.  Locate pricey and sophisticated parmesan cheese:


That jar cost me $4.28.

Step 21 – serve to grateful and delighted family or guests (I’m told such people exist):

Ready to eat

Step 22 – revisit cask of wine ($12.99 for two litres):

Pour cask wine











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