Monday, 16 February 2009

Slow cooked bolognese sauce

I make bolognese relatively often, it's a great standby recipe that I like to think I've got down to a fine art. I've tried all manner of recipes and techniques, from different herbs to different vegetables or meat, you name it I've tried it! If there was one thing that every recipe has in common aside from the essentials like tomatoes and herbs, it would be that they all use minced meat.

When I have an idea I just can't let it go, weeks may pass, months even but I just have to try it in the end, and I had a great idea for improving my bolognese. I was going to replace the minced beef that I would normally use with whole pieces of braising steak then cook it long and slow. It did take months but I finally got around to trying it last week.

Other than swapping the mince for steak I followed my normal recipe. It took a lot longer to cook, around 4 hours, but needed no attention so I could go and do other things while it simmered gently on the stove.The finished sauce was rich and meaty, the flavour just seems to get better and better the longer it cooks. Tossed through some papardelle pasta with shavings of pamesan this made for an extremely tasty bolognese indeed.

A few tips for a great bolognese sauce:
  • Always brown your meat first, it improves the flavour no end.
  • Bacon can improve anything, add some chooped bacon to your sauce for a delicious flavour.
  • Don't add too many different herbs and flavourings, keep it simple.

13 comments:

Anne said...

I keep meaning to make a ragu too with chunks of meat, looks delicious!

pigpigscorner said...

Looks delicious! I love slow cooked stuff. Yo get really good flavours and very tender meat.

Beth said...

Agree with your bacon comment. Looks so tasty

Margaret said...

This looks a very tasty alternative to the usual mince beef.

Joie de vivre said...

Sam, that looks amazing! I love that pasta too. I never see it for sale, did you make it?

Karen said...

I could eat a plate of this - it looks so satisfying!

The Caked Crusader said...

I love the idea of using steak instead of mince. The mince is what usually puts me off bolognese as I'm not keen on the texture.
Slow cooking is definitely the tastiest way

Antonia said...

Great idea to use chunks of steak instead of mince - bet the flavour was wonderful having been cooked long and slow. Yum!

Amanda said...

Yum, yum! Sam, that looks delightful!

Have you tried a few spoonfuls of fresh ricotta atop your pasta bolognese? It's even yummier, if that's possible.

And I definitely agree with bacon--or pepperoni--added to sauce. Or just a spoonful of fat drippings. You just can't argue with that added flavor!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Can't beat a good slow-cooked ragu - and I love the big ribbon pasta with it.

onlinepastrychef said...

I love Bolognese! This one looks lovely--like the papardalle, too:)

Pam said...

Simple is best. This looks and sounds perfect. Now I am craving pasta.

Foodycat said...

I love the look of this! Pappardelle is just the thing for a rich ragu like this.