If you ask any Italians what is their favourite bolognese recipe, the answer will probably be: ‘My mum’s one!’ with dreaming eyes and a big sigh like ‘oh I whish I could have some of that now..’
Maybe it is the familiarity with the taste and the smell that we grow up with, maybe the childhood memories, who knows.. For me it is the same as well: my mamma’s bolognese, a little bit oily and full of flavour with every bites, has been my preferred dish in the world since I can remember. And still it is! (although I have to confess that my sister makes a pretty good one too..) However, with all the scientific evidence on the harm that red meat causes on our health (read here), finding a healthier version, which maintains the same deliciousness, has always been my goal.
One night, last year, I arrived at home and my boyfriend had prepared dinner, ‘a special dinner’ he added. He made bolognese pasta. But not an ordinary one: he specified that because I continuously go on and on lecturing about the benefits of vegetables and the importance to include more of those in our diet, he made a cheat version with heaps of veggies! And, most importantly, he was pretty happy with the result! I’ve never been so proud! Because if it’s only me and my healthy dietitian friends that eat delicious meals packed with vegetables that we delightedly share on instagram, unfortunately that’s not going to make everyone’s life better or healthier. But when someone else, someone who is a big meat eater, thanks to my advice but by his own initiative, changes his habits and chooses a healthier option, well, that’s when I really feel satisfied, and I think that maybe I am doing something and making the difference in the long journey to a nutritious wellness 🙂
Since that night, Darren’s bolognese pasta has become one of our much-loved recipes, permanent option for special mid-week dinner, even better if served with a fresh green leaves salad with a light balsamic and olive oil dressing and a nice glass of red wine!
A recipe perfect for fussy-eaters of all ages who don’t like vegetables: honestly, if somebody doesn’t tell you, you can barely notice that they are there!
Here is our recipe, enjoy and BUON APPETITO
Darren’s Bolognaise Pasta Sauce Serve: 6-8
- 500g Pork and Veal Mince
- 1 red onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 large red capsicum
- 1 large zucchini
- 1 cups mushroom
- 700g tomato passata
- 2tb tomato paste (no added salt)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Italian dried herbs mix
- Chilly flakes
- 1 glass red wine
- 2 tb extra virgin olive oil
1. Chop finely the onion using a small blender and set aside. With the blender process carrots and celery stalks into small cubes and place into a bowl. Repeat with the other vegetable and place in a separate bowl.
2. Warm up the oil in a very large saucepan on low-medium heat; add the chopped onion, chilli flakes if used and crushed garlic for 3-4 minutes, then add carrots and celery. Increase the heat and add the mince meat and cook stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until meat is brown. At this point add the remaining vegetable and mix with the spoon for 1-2 minutes, being careful that it doesn’t stick on the bottom. Pour the wine and let evaporate.
3. Add the tomato passata, the tomato paste, pepper and the Italian spices (three or four sprinkles). Bring it to boil, then reduce the heat to low and let is simmer cover for minimum 1 hour (if becomes too dry, add some water) THIS IS THE SECRET: the more it cooks, the more it tastes! When ready adjust with salt and let it cool.
4. Meanwhile, bring to boil a pan ¾ full of water, add salt and your favourite pasta (for reference, Italian restaurant usually cook around 70g of dry pasta per person). Drain when al dente and divide in single bowl. Pour gently the bolognese sauce on top and garnish with large Parmesan flakes.
Hint: we usually make a big bunch of the bolognaise sauce and then freeze it in single serve containers, to be easily defrosted when needed.