Spaghetti Bolognese ala Kat!

Any Italian would probably take offence if I said this was true bolognese …. so it is ala Kat!  The best part of this recipe is the fact that it is loaded with vegetables, and simmered until the aroma fills your kitchen, and your taste buds can hardly wait for the reward!  We have a vegetarian in our home right now, so this version allows for any vegetarians to get a great, hearty meal as well as those carnivores (like myself …).

 

2 onions, finely diced

2 medium size leeks, finely sliced

8 garlic cloves (yes, eight)

2 medium size carrots, finely diced

4 celery stalks, finely diced

1/2 each of red, green and yellow peppers, finely diced

olive oil

1 pound / 1/2 kg each of ground beef and pork

1/2 pound / 300 gms  of bacon, finely sliced (depending on how much you like bacon)

1 28 oz / 796 ml can good quality tomatoes

1 24 oz / 680 ml good quality tomato sauce

1 5.5 oz / 156 ml can tomato paste

1/2 cup good red wine (always use wine you would like to drink!)

bay leaves

1 tsp dry oregano

1 tsp dry basil

1 tsp dry parsley

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

salt and pepper to taste

enough pasta to feed your crowd – the above Bolognese will probably feed 6-8

Saute the onions in olive oil until just starting to carmelize, add the rest of the diced vegetables.  When the carrots are fork tender, add the garlic and the tomato sauce.  Simmer just until all the vegetables are tender.  Using either an immersion blender or your food processor (being VERY CAREFUL to allow steam to escape by leaving the lid ajar or center portion removed) whiz vegetables and sauce until a thick paste forms.  ALWAYS MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SPACE FOR STEAM TO RELEASE FROM BLENDER, BURNS CAN BE A DISASTER (and so will the mess).  Return sauce to sauce pan and stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, red wine and seasonings.

If you have fresh herbs, a nutmeg that you can grate, and fresh cinnamon – so much the better!

In a separate fry pan saute the bacon, beef and pork until cooked through.  The biggest reason I use a separate sauce pan is the vegetarian …. This is the point where you can separate the amount of sauce you need for a vegetarian, and then add the rest of the carnivorous goodness to your stock pot.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Personally, I like to take the amount of salt and pepper I would add in total, and with each layer sprinkle a bit of each.  That way all the vegetables end up seasoned, and I think the flavour goes right through.

Cook pasta until just al dente – drain and add just a bit of the bolognese to the pasta to coat the noodles.  Serve with extra sauce over top, then a generous grating of parmigiana.

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