Friday, July 27, 2012

Spaghetti Bolognese

One my favorite and go-to recipe is Spaghetti Bolognese. I always have dried spaghetti and the necessary ingredients in my pantry to make this dish so I can make some for unplanned meals or sudden cravings. This is where dried herbs and spices come in handy. I have a variety of of them. For years they lie hidden in my cupboard...but not anymore!

Recently, I started a DIY project; I recycled Starbucks coffee bottles and turned them into spice jars. I so love 'em! They're great functional accessories on my kitchen countertop.

For more photos and to see my other DIY kitchen projects, click here.

Ok, going back to bolognese. This recipe is my no-fuss version; dried pasta, dried herbs, canned tomatoes, everything that you might have available in your pantry. I use dried herbs when I only plan to use a little as it pains me to waste leftover herbs, they are expensive! And unless I find real good tomatoes, I use the canned ones because the flavor is consistent. But if there is one thing that I try not to compromise is the cheese. I buy fresh block of parmigiano reggiano and NOT the bottled, powdery ones. It's just not the same, the taste of freshly shaved cheese is exponentially better! Just buy a small block, enough for the dish you're serving. I tell you, it will make all the difference.

So here it is, my Spaghetti Bolognese.

Difficulty: Medium

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

500 g dried spaghetti
2 L water + 1 tsp salt  + 1 tsp olive oil for boiling the spaghetti*

 400 g minced beef
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt, adjust to taste
1 tsp freshly ground pepper, adjust to taste
3-4 tbsp EVOO
6 cloves of garlic, minced 
1 tsp dried oregano, (or 1 tbsp chopped fresh fresh)
2 tsp dried basil, (or 2-3 tbsp chopped fresh basil, more for garnish)
1/2 tsp dried thyme, (or 10 sprigs of fresh thyme, stems removed)
1 dried bay leaf
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1/2 green capsicum, diced
1/2 cup red wine
1 1/2 cups water*
400 g canned whole tomatoes, drained, seeded and roughly chopped
425 g tomato sauce
135 g or 6 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp honey
100 g parmigiano reggiano, shaved
chili flakes, optional
chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional

Note: You may use the starchy water from the cooked pasta for a richer texture.

1. Season the beef with 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper and 1 tbsp soy sauce. Set aside.

2. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Set aside.

3. Meanwhile, heat the EVOO and saute the minced garlic for about 30 seconds. Add the dried basil and thyme for another 30 seconds. The herbs will release it's flavor when sauteed in oil. Add the onions and cook until softened.

4. Add the beef and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the the wine to deglaze the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until the liquid is reduced and the meat is cooked.

5. Add the carrots, tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste and water and bring to a boil. Taste for seasoning before you add the honey.

5. Add the pasta to the sauce.

6. Serve with shaved parmigiano reggiano, chili flakes and freshly ground pepper on top and garnish with chopped parsley.

 Makes 4 Servings

Home-cooked Meal
14 Jul 2012

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