There are numerous recipe for Spaghetti Bolognese, affectionately known as 'spag bol', but I like to try to get back to the roots of this classic Italian pasta sauce.
In Bologna, where it originated, it is always known as a rag¨, rather than our anglicised version, and is never served with spaghetti. It should be served over a broader pasta, preferably fresh tagliatelle, but I compromise with linguine or fusilli.
You really need to set aside several hours for preparation and cooking, although you can turn off the heat and then resume cooking. It is important that you finish the rag¨ within the same day.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: A minimum of 3 hours
Makes: 8-10 servings
Ingredients 2tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 sticks chopped celery
3 carrots, chopped
500g good quality minced beef
250ml red or white wine
1 large tin chopped Italian tomatoes in juice
Freshly grated nutmeg
Put the oil and onion into a large saucepan over a medium heat and cook until the onion is translucent.
Add the carrot and celery, cook for a couple more minutes, stirring.
Crumble in the minced beef with some salt and pepper and cook until the meat is no longer pink.
Add the milk and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has evaporated. Add some freshly grated nutmeg.
Pour in the wine (I've red and white and don't really have a preference, although I believe white is more authentic). Leave the alcohol to evaporate.
Add the tinned tomatoes and stir to coat well. Once the sauce starts to bubble, turn the heat down to a bare simmer and leave to cook for a minimum of three hours.
If the liquid dries out before the time indicated, add a little extra water if necessary. The finished rag¨ should have no liquid left at all. Check the seasoning at this point and add more salt if it needs it.
Just before serving I like to stir in a couple of tablespoons of the water in which the pasta has cooked.
Serve the meat sauce with your choice of pasta and freshly grated parmesan.
Any leftover sauce can be refrigerated or frozen and used to make lasagne.