My First Bolognese

pot of bolognese sauce on the stove

Had my first go at a proper bolognese.

Came out pretty well.

white plate with penne bolognese with cheese on top, with a side salad


125 ml olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
pinch of chilli flakes
400 gm ground veal & pork
salt & pepper
2 tbsp tomato paste
125 ml red wine
2 400gm cans chopped tomatoes
small handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
small handful fresh oregano leaves, chopped
100 ml sweet sherry (pedro ximenez)
tbsp cream
400 gm penne
reggiano parmigiano, grated


Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onion, celery, carrot and chilli flakes. Cook, stirring, until golden, about 10 minutes. *

Add the veal & pork, stirring to break up the meat until it’s browned, 8-10 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.

Add the tomato paste, stir through thoroughly, 2-3 minutes.

Add the wine, stir and let it bubble away until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.

Add the herbs, lower the heat and simmer until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes. Near the end, add the sherry and cream, stir through.

Bring a large pot of water to boil, cook penne until al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain and place on plate. Spoon sauce over pasta, grate cheese over the top.

Serve with a side salad and bread.

* Note: Onion, celery and carrot prepared this way is called soffritto and is the basis for many Italian sauces. Adding garlic and chilli is one variation. Another is substituting finely chopped fennel root for the celery. back

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