Some recipes just seem to inspire this inexplicable fear in our hearts. You know what I'm talking about, those recipes that we think will take hours to make, or might require fancy kitchen equipment or exotic never before seen ingredients. Spaghetti Bolognese used to be that kind of recipe for me. Obviously to make it one needed to spend the entire day in front of a large spattering pot of sauce, being sure to stir it regularly at strategically spaced intervals... Oh and you absolutely had be an older Italian matriarch with expansive bosoms who could make little children wet themselves just from one disapproving look you would give them.
This fantasy I constructed around the Bolognese sauce was shattered during the time I spent in Florence. (I studied abroad there, long, long ago.) It was one of those carefree Saturdays spent frolicking on the beach near Sienna. By the time a group of us finally got back to Florence and piled into Peppe's small apartment, everyone was ready for a big filling meal and pronto! Well imagine my surprise when Peppe suggested we make Spaghetti Bolognese and a quick inspection of his kitchen confirmed the lack of a big bubbling pot on the stove being supervised by an intimidating Italian matron. Trust me, said Peppe seeing my surprise, it wouldn't take longer then 15 minutes!
And sure enough someone ran downstairs to the shop for the ingredients while we tooled around opening bottles of wine and setting up the dinner table. In what seemed like minutes we were all contentedly devouring our Spaghetti Bolognese accompanied by red wine, laughter and evening sun shine streaming through open veranda doors.
Simplified Bolognese Sauce (serves 4)
• 5 medium tomatoes (I like to use roma tomatoes)
• 500g or 1 lb of ground beef
• 1 medium onion
• 2 cloves of minced garlic
• ½ glass of red wine (don't drink it all yourself!)
• ½ teaspoon of paprika
• 1 teaspoon of sugar
• salt and pepper to taste
• pinch of black and chili peppers
• pinch of dried oregano and basil
• spaghetti or fresh pasta (using fresh pasta will save you even more time, since it cooks in 3-4 minutes.)
• Fresh basil leaves
• Pecorino Romano cheese
Prep/cook – Homemade Spaghetti Bolognese
Boil a large pot of water then add the tomatoes and boil for about 3 minutes. We're not trying to cook them, but simply shock them in heat so the skin loosens up and cracks. Take the tomatoes out of the water (save that water for boiling spaghetti in) and run them under cold water. This is so that they cool off enough for you not to burn your fingers when peeling the skins off. At this point it should be easy to simply peel the skins with your fingers. Remove the hard cores of the tomatoes and chop them up a bit. Set aside.
Chop up the onion and saute’ it in 1 tsp of butter until translucent. Add ground beef and cook until it's not pink anymore. Add the chopped tomatoes, the garlic, the wine and the rest of the spices. Lower the heat and stir periodically.
Turn the fire back on under the pot with saved tomato water, add the spaghetti and a generous twist of salt. Cook about 8 minutes as per instructions. Don't forget the sauce! Stir it periodically imagining yourself as an Italian mamma.
You won't even get a chance to finish that glass of wine when it's all ready!
Pile the delicious al dente spaghetti onto plates and top them off generously with your homemade sauce. Garnish with shavings of pecorino romano cheese and fresh basil leaves. Pour everyone a large glass of red wine. Why not make it a Chianti? And as the Italians say, you got yourself a meal that's al bacio*!...*perfect like a kiss
• • • LESSONS LEARNED • • •
There's more than one way to bolognese.
Love it? Share it! - We are dedicated to sharing stories that spark ideas and are meaningful to you. The best way to let us know is by posting a comment, like below or pin it on Pinterest! ~ For More ways Live Like You're Traveling follow us on Feedly, Bloglovin, Pinterest, or Facebook.