Mum’s Spaghetti Bolognese

Mum’s Spaghetti bolognese should really just be called 'mum’s spaghetti' in that it’s a meat and tomato sauce that she ate at home as a kid, and that Grandma taught her to make just like she taught me. One of my first jobs in her kitchen was to cut up the meat into teeny tiny cubes. Mum's spaghetti was the family’s favorite dish. She’d make it every Wednesday for lunch and we’d come home from school for it, a welcome respite from awful British school meals. An extra treat was the ice cream we’d race out to buy from the local truck to buy for dessert, but that’s another story. For her sauce, my mother used 2 oz of tomato ‘doppio concentrato’ and added water, but I prefer to cook down canned diced tomatoes instead, and in the late summer I use fresh, ripe beefsteak tomatoes. Mum’s family were Piedmontese from near Turin. Piedmontese traditionally use a lot of butter, and like her, I stir butter into the sauce at the end to give it a velvety smoothness that’s just delicious. Enjoy! 

AuthorAnn Gaffney
RatingDifficultyBeginner

Heat the olive oil in a heavy frying or sauté pan over a medium-high flame. When it starts to ripple, add the diced meat and the bay leaf.

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Mums-Spaghetti-Bolognese
Yields4 Servings
Prep Time25 minsCook Time45 minsTotal Time1 hr 10 mins
 ½ lb stew beef (see Ann’s tips)
 1 tbsp olive oil
 1 bay leaf
 1 medium onion, diced
 2 cloves garlic, minced
 2 tbsp tomato concentrate
 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
 ¼ chicken bouillon cube, chopped (optional)
 ½ tsp sugar
 1 tbsp butter, unsalted
 8 basil leaves, torn.
 sea salt to taste
 8 oz spaghetti( 4X2 oz portion)
1

Cut the beef into tiny cubes, removing any fat and gristle as you go. Set aside. ( See Ann’s Tips)

2

Heat the olive oil in a heavy frying or sauté pan over a medium-high flame. When it starts to ripple, add the diced meat and the bay leaf. Sprinkle with salt. Cook stirring until the meat is brown and the watery juices it initially throws off have completely evaporated. Add the diced onions. Sprinkle with salt. Lower the heat to medium and cook stirring until translucent, about 7 minutes.

3

Turn the heat to medium high again. Add the minced garlic. As soon as you can smell it’s aroma, stir in the tomato concentrate. Cook until it starts to darken and caramelize, about 1 minute.

4

Add the tomatoes, bouillon cube if using, and sugar. Stir to mix. Lower the flame to medium-low. Cook until the tomatoes are reduced and thick and the meat tender, about 30 minutes If the sauce gets dry, add a tablespoon or two of water from the pasta pot and cook it down again. Just before serving taste for salt. Stir the butter into the sauce.

5

Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Leave simmering until the sauce is ready. Cook the spaghetti 1 minute less than packet directions. Reserve a cup of the water in case you need it for the sauce. Drain. Return to the pan and toss with the basil + 2 tablespoons of the sauce.

6

Divide the pasta between 4 bowls and spoon the remaining sauce over the top. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Ann's Tips
7

- If you don’t want the hassle of dicing the meat, use 95% lean ground pastured beef and continue as per recipe.
- If you use the bouillon cube go easy on the salt in step 2.

Category, , Cuisine, , , Cooking Method,

Ingredients

 ½ lb stew beef (see Ann’s tips)
 1 tbsp olive oil
 1 bay leaf
 1 medium onion, diced
 2 cloves garlic, minced
 2 tbsp tomato concentrate
 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
 ¼ chicken bouillon cube, chopped (optional)
 ½ tsp sugar
 1 tbsp butter, unsalted
 8 basil leaves, torn.
 sea salt to taste
 8 oz spaghetti( 4X2 oz portion)

Directions

1

Cut the beef into tiny cubes, removing any fat and gristle as you go. Set aside. ( See Ann’s Tips)

2

Heat the olive oil in a heavy frying or sauté pan over a medium-high flame. When it starts to ripple, add the diced meat and the bay leaf. Sprinkle with salt. Cook stirring until the meat is brown and the watery juices it initially throws off have completely evaporated. Add the diced onions. Sprinkle with salt. Lower the heat to medium and cook stirring until translucent, about 7 minutes.

3

Turn the heat to medium high again. Add the minced garlic. As soon as you can smell it’s aroma, stir in the tomato concentrate. Cook until it starts to darken and caramelize, about 1 minute.

4

Add the tomatoes, bouillon cube if using, and sugar. Stir to mix. Lower the flame to medium-low. Cook until the tomatoes are reduced and thick and the meat tender, about 30 minutes If the sauce gets dry, add a tablespoon or two of water from the pasta pot and cook it down again. Just before serving taste for salt. Stir the butter into the sauce.

5

Meanwhile bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Leave simmering until the sauce is ready. Cook the spaghetti 1 minute less than packet directions. Reserve a cup of the water in case you need it for the sauce. Drain. Return to the pan and toss with the basil + 2 tablespoons of the sauce.

6

Divide the pasta between 4 bowls and spoon the remaining sauce over the top. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Ann's Tips
7

- If you don’t want the hassle of dicing the meat, use 95% lean ground pastured beef and continue as per recipe.
- If you use the bouillon cube go easy on the salt in step 2.

Mum’s Spaghetti Bolognese

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