With all of the grey and dreary days that we have been having lately I have been craving some comfort food and top on the list is spaghetti alla bolognese otherwise known simply as spaghetti. Spaghetti has been one of my favorite foods since I was a kid and it was one of the first recipes that I learned how to make for myself. Despite the long list of ingredients, this recipe is actually really easy, requiring very little actual hands on time. I do a couple of things differently in this recipe starting with the vegetables which I pulse in the food processor. I want the flavours and aromas that the onions, celery, carrots and mushrooms provide but I like the meat sauce to be about the meat and pulsing them in the food processor allows me to have them without changing the texture of the sauce. Up next, I add some pancetta which is just packed with flavour followed by a glass of red wine.
Whenever I finish a piece of parmigiano reggiano I toss the rind into the freezer saving it for when I make a tomato sauce like this one where it is going to be simmering for a long time. You simple add the rind to the sauce all of it flavour will enter the sauce as it cooks. In addition to all of ingredients in this recipe, one of the keys to a really tasty sauce is to allow it to simmer for a long time and in fact bolognese sauce is one of those sauces that taste even better the next day when the flavours have had a chance to come out and work their magic. Of course whenever I make spaghetti alla bolognese I take the opportunity to make some cheesy garlic toast to serve with it.
Spaghetti alla Bolognese
Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes Servings: 4
A flavour packed beef and tomato sauce served over pasta.
- 1 medium onion, cut into small chunks
- 2 carrots, cut into small chunks
- 2 stalks celery, cut into small chunks
- 4 cloves garlic
- 8 ounces mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 pound pancetta or bacon, diced
- 1 cup red wine (or 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar)
- 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (5 ounce) can tomato paste
- 1 parmigiano reggiano rind (optional)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1 handful parsley, chopped
- 1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated
- Pulse the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and mushrooms in a food processor along with the oil.
- Cook the ground beef in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until brown all over drain and set aside.
- Heat the oil in the same pan on medium high heat.
- Add the pancetta and saute until it starts to get crispy.
- Add the pulsed vegetables and saute until they begin to caramelize.
- Add the beef, wine, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, parmigiano reggiano rind, bay leaves, oregano, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered for 1-3 hours.
- Cook the spaghetti as directed on the package.
- Toss the spaghetti and the sauce or serve the sauce on the spaghetti and garnish with parsley and grated parmigiano reggiano.