A good ol’ spaghetti bolognese is a staple in most kiwi kitchens… but 90% of the time we turn to beef as our hero ingredient. And fair enough… NZ does do damn good lean beef mince. But, spaghetti bolognese has a much pork-ier history.
Translated spaghetti bolognese just means ‘spaghetti from Bologna’ – a city of around 400,000 people in Northern Italy. Originally a rich farming district, the city has done well in the Industrial Age and it’s proximity to a big agriculture industry means it’s now home to some of Italy’s largest food producers, as well as a busy engineering industry and is often seen as a transport hub for the northern parts of Italia.
The meat-based sauce is what makes spaghetti bolognese awesome. It’s been around since the late 18th century – the first published recipe appeared in Pelligrino Artusi’s cookbook, “The Science of Cooking and the Art of Fine Dining“, in 1891.
Below is a kiwi-friendly version of that recipe with easy-to-find ingredients for an authentic Italian taste explosion at home!
Place a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add 2 big glugs of olive oil, chopped bacon bits and oregano, and cook until the bacon is just starting to get crispy and the fat has rendered.
Add the veggies (onion, garlic, carrot and celery) to the pan and stir every 30 seconds for around 7 minutes or until tender and lightly coloured.
Stir in the minced meat breaking it up with your spoon and allow it to brown. Add the tomato puree and one empty can of water to the pan. Stir in a good pinch of salt and pepper.
Cut the stalks off your basil leaves, chop them up roughly and add them to the pan. Pop the leaves aside for later.
Allow the mixture to come to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and pop a lid on, but slightly askew. Allow to simmer over low heat for about an hour, stirring occasionally to stop anything sticking to the bottom.
Take the lid off and cook for another 15 minutes stirring occasionally. If sauce becomes dry add a splash of water.
Right before you serve, stir thru a big handful of grated parmesan and your basil leaves, roughly torn up.
Serve with any type of pasta – and pop the rest of the parmesan on the table for your guests to sprinkle over. Bon appétit!