I would guess that bolognese or “ragu” is one of the most cooked pasta sauces in the world. It is relatively cheap, nutritious, delicious and usually a firm favourite with children of all ages.
This summer, while on holiday in Italy, my son made it his mission to try ragu in every restaurant we went to and he rated them by preference. He preferred those that were more tomato based from what I can tell.
I’m including my version on my blog as I cook it so often and always have portions in the freezer that I can take out at a moments notice. This is especially handy when I want to cook something for my husband and me that I know my sons won’t eat.
A lot of children don’t like the texture of vegetables and spend their time picking them out of food or outright rejecting the meal if they see a vegetable. They seem quite happy with the flavour of vegetables though so I like to blitz my vegetables to almost a puree and add them to my sauces. My sons know they are in there but they can’t see them while they eat so all is good.
For my bolognese I like to add the holy trinity of vegetables in Italian cooking – onion, celery and carrot. As you can see from the picture they are blitzed quite finely.
Obviously, feel free to add the vegetables in diced or blitzed less finely.
This sauce really does get better with time so letting it simmer for longer is better. I try for at least an hour and sometimes maybe even 90 minutes. It tastes even better the next day so if you can leave it overnight i recommend doing so.
It also freezes really well so I always keep some in my freezer.
- 800 g minced beef
- 2 carrots
- 2 sticks celery
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tin tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tbsp mixed herbs
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- Chop finely or blitz the carrots, celery and onions and fry in some olive oil until the onions are soft
- Add the garlic and fry for another minute
- Brown the mince until the liquid from the meat has been absorbed
- Add the tin of tomatoes, tomato puree, mixed herbs, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper
- Bring to the boil and simmer for at least 60 minutes, adding water if needed. This can also be made a day in advance which allows the flavours to develop.
- Serve with your favourite pasta. When combining the pasta and sauce, dd a ladle of the cooked pasta water. The salty, starchy water not only adds flavor but helps glue the pasta and sauce together; it will also help thicken the sauce.