Everybody seems to have a recipe for spaghetti bolognese but that doesn’t mean that all recipes are equal. Although the bolognese sauce has come a long way from its origins in Bologna, this recipe tries to combine the meat flavours of the original recipe with the right balance of tomato that has come to represent the sauce that we expect today.
Subtle herbs, spices and flavourings are added to ensure a rich, meaty ragù without it being too acidic. To create the perfect rounded meal I like to serve the dish with a rocket salad and warm crusty bread, perfect for mopping up the remains.
100g diced pancetta
1 small brown onion finely chopped
500g lean steak mince
1 large clove of garlic crushed
2 x 400g chopped tinned plum tomatoes
2 tablespoon tomato paste
250g chestnut mushrooms sliced
1 beef stock cube
½ glass full-bodied red wine
1 large pinch Italian herb seasoning (dried Oregano, Basil, Bay, Sage, Thyme)
500g spaghetti cooked al dente (I also like Capellini)
4 teaspoons pesto
4 sprigs fresh basil
Fry off pancetta and onion in a large heavy based saucepan (no need for oil or butter as the fat from the pancetta is usually sufficient).
Add the mince and garlic and continue to fry until the meat is browned.
Then add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian herbs and red wine. Stir until well combined.
Add the mushrooms and crumble over the stock cube. Stir well and leave to simmer for a minimum of 30 minutes stirring occasionally (the longer it cooks for the better it tastes!).
Cook spaghetti al dente as per instructions on the packet.
To serve put a pile of spaghetti in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Place sauce in the well. Dribble a teaspoon of pesto around the edge of the meat, grate over fresh reggiano parmesan and place basil sprig on top.