Real Mamma Mia Bolognese

BologneseIt’s been a while since I posted one of my tried and true Vandal recipes. So in response to the overwhelming number of requests I have had (well one, maybe two), let’s get cooking.

I love simplicity because it makes things a whole lot easier and as luck would have it, some of the greatest recipes are mindblowingly simple. Spaghetti Bolognese must be one of the most popular dishes in the world, but boy, have I tasted some awful attempts at it. Usually because there is just way too much ‘stuff’ in it. You know, a bit of this, a bit of that and the Colonel’s secret spices. Well, there is no ‘stuff’ in real Bolognese. Just the following basic ingredients.

750 grams minced beef and pork (2/3 beef – 1/3 pork) The pork is the secret! You can use veal in place of pork.
1 brown onion diced finely
3 Bay Leaves. (Fresh is better than dried)
6 Nice, Pretty, Red Tomatoes diced finely. (Use a tin if you must!)
1 Cup Red Wine. (Good stuff too. No cheating.)
A little olive oil (About 1 dessert spoon)
Black Pepper

How to cook your Bolo!

Get a big pot, pan or whatever. I like to use a wok, though. (Yes, I know, it’s Chinese!) Heat the pot, pan, wok or whatever and add a little olive oil. Now add all the meat and mix it up a bit.

Now this is the really important bit. On high heat cook the living daylights out of the meat until you hear it crackling on the bottom of the pot, pan or wok. Keep mixing it until it starts to look like burnt bread crumbs. If you don’t hear crackling, keep cooking! This is where the flavour really comes from.

When you see little crunchy bits of meat, it’s time to add the onions. Stir and wait for onions to soften. About 4-5 minutes.

Now add the wine and wait for it to almost disappear. But not quite, then add the bay leaves and tomatoes and some salt and pepper. Now cover and lower the heat to simmer for a goodish hour. There should be plenty of wine left in the bottle so have a glass after all your hard work!

Contrary to popular belief, Bolognese is not a competition in redness, so forget the industrial tomato paste and splashes of paprika. If you really want to go redder, use Beef Heart Tomatoes, as they colour up very well.

Serve, of course, with spaghetti and really good parmesan. Bon Appétit!

8 thoughts on “Real Mamma Mia Bolognese”

  1. Tracy Tidswell

    I've had big discussions about whether or not to put 'stuff' in bolognese, I'm a big believer in letting the flavour come from using good, simple ingredients instead of relying on awful, metallic tasting tomato puree/ stock cubes etc. And wine, always wine! Also, pork yes.
    Hmm, except now I'm hungry, I shouldn't have read that at this time of day. That naan bread pizza just isn't going to cut it now :(

  2. Ahhh Tracy. You can always use the 'bolo' as a pizza sauce base! Should work on naan too :)

  3. Tracy Tidswell

    Yes! Although I'm not sure the VV would allow me to use his precious rosè and that's all we have in the house. If only I could get my hands on some decent red….

  4. I have to disagree with your recipe, David. Sorry! Bolognese has no bay leaves or red wine in it. Meat, celery, carrot, tomato, onion, white wine, milk (yes, milk), salt, pepper and nutmeg. And it needs at least four hours cooking time, preferably more. As to the proportions and method – that'd be telling! Buon appetito!

  5. Tracy Tidswell

    Did he say carrots? And celery? My Italian mamma would turn in her grave! (I should maybe point out at this point that my 'mamma' is of Norwegian origin and not actually dead, but those are just mere details)
    I've heard of people putting milk in and I suppose good white wine is better than bad red but even so.
    Also, who is David?

  6. anna-rose phipps

    Oh absolutely red wine and the bay leaves!

    Be honest with me, didyou like my 97% pork sausage recipe?

    I’m so very hungry right now. for your spag bol. I shall print this recipe out.

  7. Bolognese sauce recipe

    red wine with herbs .. on boiling gives you yummy smell… wow.. gonna make it today


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