I've found it. The perfect Spag Bol. OK, it doesn't contain livers and so it may not be strictly authentic as such, but it's really good - strong-tasting and and really meaty. It came from Jamie Oliver's book Happy Days with the Naked Chef that I picked up from a charity shop the other week. And yes, I sloshed in a bit more wine than he stated and I didn't use smoked bacon or cook it in the oven as he does but by jingo this is good. I think the difference is made by adding the sundried tomatoes - I always have a jar of these in the fridge anyway for sandwiches, but they do add such an intense flavour to this. You just need to chop them quite finely so you don't end up with chewy dried tomatoes in your sauce.
This is my version of the recipe, after I'd tinkered with it. If you want to see Jamie's original recipe then you'll need to get hold of the book, where it's called Kinda Spaghetti Bolognaise (page 125) - I can't find it on the internet to show you. This made enough for two sittings of four people - so I froze half of it. Economical too, you see?
The Perfect Spaghetti Bolognese
Serves 8 - freeze your leftovers
- 3 rashers unsmoked streaky bacon, chopped
- one handful rosemary, washed and chopped
- olive oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped finely
- 3 chunky cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 400g organic beef mince
- 300ml red wine
- 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
- 400g tin chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 4 sundried tomatoes, from a jar, chopped finely
- salt and pepper for seasoning
- generous handful fresh basil
- In a large frying pan, fry the bacon and rosemary in a little olive oil until the bacon starts to turn golden. Add the onion and garlic and continue to cook for about 3-4 minutes, until softened. Stir in the minced beef and break it up with your spoon or spatula, and fry until it has browned.
- Pour in the wine, and let it bubble and reduce by about one third. Add the dried herbs, sundried tomatoes, tomato puree and tinned tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper, top the pan with a lid and leave it to cook on a gentle heat for about 45 minutes.
- Just before the bolognese sauce is ready, tear up the basil leaves and stir them into the sauce. This way they'll stay fragrant. Serve with some cooked spaghetti or other pasta of your choice and lots of Parmesan cheese for grating over.