My Spag Bol

Is there nothing more comforting than a bowl of your own home-cooked Spaghetti Bolognese? Yes, I'm well aware of the fact that this dish doesn't exactly push boundaries in terms of innovation but it's one of my favourite staple dinners, and what I love most about it is the fact that everyone has their own recipe, their own spag bol.

I do feel a little silly writing about something that is so inherent certainly in my own food routine, but what I wanted to talk about is how I do this dish, my way, and see how the rest of you tackle this dish.

I know certainly my way originates from my dad's recipe, and his is still my favourite in the world ever. I remember asking him to write out exactly how he did it in my first few weeks of university and since then my own has changed and morphed into something not too dissimilar but still my own.

So here's *my* spag bol:
(autocorrect keeps changing spag to slag so I apologise if I miss a typo)

What you need:

1 onion, red or white I'm not fussy
3 cloves of garlic minimum or however many you feel like
500g of lean beef mince - you can get 500g of extra lean mince for £2.85 in ASDA, no need to thank me
250g or more of white mushrooms, closed cup or button
500g of good passata - chopped tomatoes just don't make the grade anymore (I must hasten to add the image above used 400g chopped tomatoes, not passata)
Tomato purée
A good glug or two of nice red wine
Worcestershire Sauce - a good sprinkling
Tobasco Sauce - only two teeny tiny drops
Oil - any kind, olive, coconut or even calorie control


Get the saucepan nice and hot
Chop the onions as fine as you can and grate the garlic to get it all mushy so the flavour are released easier
Sweat both in a saucepan with a little oil until the onions soften
Add the mince meat until browned, stirring as you go
Optional step: draining the saucepan of the fat from the meat, although I like to keep it for flavour
Chop the mushrooms however which way you like - I like mine sliced, yes it makes a difference - and add to the pan
Mix everything together making sure the mushrooms are coated in the juice from the meat
Cook for about a minute, stirring as you go
Add the passata and stir stir stir
Add about two tablespoons of tomato purée or two really good squeezes and stir in
Add a really good glug of good wine, if you've got one open for the meal use that
Add a good sprinkling of worcestershire sauce and two teeny drops of tobasco - I don't want it spicy, just to add to the flavour
When this is all mixed in I like to season and this is where you're all going to shoot me:
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Mixed herbs to taste *hides behind hands*
If I have fresh basil, I'll undoubtedly use a good handful of that or to taste
A tiny sprinkle of chilli powder, again not to make it spicy just to add flavour
Then turn down the heat on your pan, or even move to a smaller ring on the cooker, put the lid on and let it simmer away for a good 30-40 mins
When you're good and hungry, take the lid off the pan and let it reduce whilst you cook your pasta, the key is to have a really nice thick sauce
Whilst it is reducing I usually top up on the seasoning and add more wine - there ain't nuttin' that wine didn't make ok
When the pasta is cooked, drain and serve with a couple of bits of garlic bread and a lovely glass of red wine and there you have it.

For the spag bol in the picture above I used a Côtes de Rhône which was £5 in ASDA, which is obviously a French wine, not Italian (if you'd like to know exactly which one, I can send you a picture of the label). Personally I don't think it really matters, as long as the wine is full bodied and spicy, again which is personal taste. For this kind of dinner we'll either pick a good Rioja, Chianti or a heavy French red. I'm not an expert on wine in any sense, I just know what I like and what in my mind goes with what. But if you have some suggestions for what might go even better, please let me know.

So there we have it, my spag bol. How do you cook yours?