As an eager cook I have a filled pastry; fridge and freezer included. If I don’t want to, I don’t have to go out for shopping for my dinner. Great when a blizzard hits you – if you don’t life in NorCal, best if you just don’t want to. My spaghetti Bolognese can proof that.
The announced blizzard and all reactions on Twitter about it, kind of made me smile. In particular the notions that kale and kombucha were sold out everywhere in New York, instead of more obvious staples as water, bread and cans of beans, for instance.
It made me wonder; what would I buy for a storm that could lock me into my house for a day or two? I couldn’t think of anything. My freezer, fridge and supply cabinet are usually stuffed enough. It happens many times that I don’t go out for food, as I know I can make a meal with only a few ingredients.
This week I had such a day. I didn’t’ feel well and had no idea what to make for dinner. I searched my freezer and cabinets and found minced meat, tomato sauce, tomato paste and spaghetti. Time for a meal that I used to make a lot, but some disappeared from my ‘always good to make’-list.
Needless to say it’s back on!
Did you know the people in the Italian city Bologna never eat their Bolognese sauce with spaghetti? They eat it with tagliatelle or use it in lasagna. Also good ideas, but somehow I usually stick with spaghetti. So here’s my take on Spaghetti Bolognese.
The recipe is basically the still the same as I used when I made it the first time. My mom got it from ‘a real chef’ and although it’s easy to vary on, I usually don’t. I only added a stalk of celery since I had it in my fridge. Omit if you like.
You need for 2:
1 stalk of celery – optional
2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic
250 gr | 0,5 lb minced meat (beef)
400 gr | 15 oz. canned tomatoes (sauce or pieces)
80 gr | 3 oz. tomato paste (1/2 can)
1 tablespoon (Chinese thick) soy sauce
1 tablespoon dried green herbs (like thyme, oregano, parsley)
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
lots of grated cheese
Set the base. Peel and cut the onion and celery into small pieces and bake about 5 minutes in the olive oil. Peel and chop garlic and add as well. Stir.
Add the meat. Break it into small pieces before adding, and mince it further while baking with a spatula. Bake until slightly browned, mostly gray.
Add tomatoes. Both cans. Add soy sauce, dried herbs and bay leaf as well. Let simmer for about an hour. Stir every now and then.
Note: the more time you have to let the tomato sauce simmer, the deeper the flavors will be. So try simmering it for about an hour.
Cook the spaghetti. After 45 minutes of sauce simmering, bring a large pot water to boil. Salt it generously and cook the spaghetti. See package for how long, start tasting the spaghetti when 3/4 of the cooking time has passed.
Drain the pasta, but don’t forget to catch a cup of the boiling water. Dilute your sauce with it, by adding 2 tablespoons of the water every time. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Tip: If you have a good look at your cup of boiled pasta water, you see it’s not bright, but a bit cloudy. That’s starch that the pasta let go while boiling, and that’s good. You can both dilute your sauce with it, but because of the starch, it doesn’t make it watery. You can use this trick with any sauce/soup.
Serve pasta with sauce and lots of grated cheese. I like young Dutch Gouda on this!