Friday, July 16, 2010

Best Ever Bolognese

Spaghetti bolognese is a family favourite in most homes. Kids love it and so do adults. I probably cook a dozen different versions of this sauce, but I have to admit that this is probably one of my favourites.

Usually, I finely grate or dice most of the vegetables, but in this version I have added them in cooked puree form. This naturally increases the volume of vegetables used and also thickens the sauce up nicely. The puree red capsicum adds real depth to the flavour and in conjunction with the red lentils, it boosts the antioxidant content of the meal. But make sure you add the lentils early on with enough liquid to allow them to simmer long enough to soften and dissociate.

Don't worry about the anchovies giving the dish a fishy flavour. You won't be able to taste them. However, they are a great way of adding salt to the dish as well as a few omega-3's. Italian dishes often list anchovies as a seasoning in recipes.

Best Ever Bolognese Sauce
1 tpsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 red onion, finely diced
2 anchovies
600g lean beef mince
1 tbsp mixed dried herbs
2 bay leaves
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp tomato sauce
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup red lentils (plus extra water)
4 ripe tomatoes, diced (or 400g can tinned peeled tomatoes)
1 cup red capsicum puree (equivalent to 2-3 peeled cooked red capsicums)
1/2 cup carrot puree
1 zucchini, finely grated
8 button mushrooms, finely sliced
Fresh chopped basil
Cracked black pepper and salt to season

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan

  2. Saute onion and garlic, then add mince to brown

  3. Add tomatoes, purees, sauces, sugar, herbs, and red lentils. You may also need to add a little extra water at this point to make sure the lentils are covered.

  4. Bring to simmer then add remaining vegetables

  5. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally until lentils soften and begin to break up. Continue simmering until sauce thickens to desired consistency.

  6. Season with cracked black pepper and salt to taste

  7. Stir through a handful of fresh chopped basil and serve on fresh linguine topped with grated parmesan

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