Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Oh spaghetti bolognese, you beautiful bastard

Now you'd think that by now, 19 years since it became the first thing I ever learnt to cook (I'm not counting sausages here because it required very little effort) that I'd be sick of Spaghetti Bolognese - but you'd be wrong.

The inspiration for tonight's post


I freakin love spaghetti bolognese. And I'll happily eat it twice a month until the day I die...

So why so much love for something that's essentially just pasta with a meat and tomato based sauce? Well there's a number of reasons:

1. SIMPLICITY

Cook meat. Boil Pasta. Add sauce. Great cheese. eat many bowls. This is why it became the first meal I ever learnt to cook as it was very hard to stuff it up. Sure you could burn or over salt the sauce or maybe under cook the pasta or somehow get boiling water all over you but those occasions were pretty rare. And unless you well and truly cooked it within an inch of its life, even average Spaghetti Bolognese is still worth tucking into.

2. YOU CAN CUSTOMISE IT LIKE YOUR CAR

Diced bacon? Yes please. Small bites of chorizo sausage strewn throughout? Oh god yes. Grated carrot for that much needed vegie fix? Sure! Give me caramelised onions and a cheeky splash of red wine in there (from the bottle I like to tuck into as chef), throw in herbs and cheese and some crushed garlic and oh god, I want another bowl already...

3. HOW GOOD IS GARLIC BREAD?

Crusty on the outside, gooey butter and garlic on the inside. A match made in heaven for bolognese barons and baronesses.

4. SECONDS TASTE JUST AS GOOD AS THE FIRST TIME AROUND

Yes I know another bowl of that much pasta and red meat and cheese and the like probably isn't the healthiest thing to wade into after you've just finished your similar sized first bowl...but how good does it feel? Bring on the carb coma baby, it's pasta time!
(I once had three bowls of a particular bolognese

5. IT'S RARE TO FIND SOMEONE WHO CAN'T COOK IT

In my time on this planet (consisting of many pasta eating winters) I've met only one bowl of spaghetti bolognese that I stopped eating after the first couple of mouthfuls and the reason was pretty understandable - the housemate had put Vegemite in it. It was one of his first attempts you see and not having much on hand, he grabbed the Australian breakfast favourite. It turned out to be the saltiest pasta with tar like consistency I've ever had the misfortune of encountering so I stuck to the garlic bread instead...which thankfully didn't include any of his random cooking surprises.

6. THE ENTERTAINING IS ALL TAKEN CARE OF WITH A BIG BOWL OF SPAG BOL

Having a dinner party sometime soon? Put a massive bowl of spaghetti bolognese in the middle of the table with plenty of bread rolls, red wine and shredded cheese on hand and watch your social standing go through the roof. Impress the boss, in laws, random strangers, the mob, anyone who comes calling, Santa Claus, the family lawyer, me, my wife, most kids, Tom Cruise, Pete the technician, your housemate, the cast from Westworld, everybody.

Don't ever change.


SO HOW DO I COOK MINE?

If I have the time, I like a relaxed spag bol where each ingredient gets the proper attention that they richly deserve.
-On a low heat I melt some butter and start to fry up some diced onions.
-Mmm, they're getting golden. Time to throw in some diced bacon (with little bits of fats attached - this melts down and really adds to the flavour. Glorious.)
-After a couple of minutes I mix in some chopped up onions or as they once advertised them here in Australia, 'Meat for vegetarians'.
-You know what this bolognese needs now? Some garlic. A teaspoon of the crushed stuff is plenty and wow is this thing smelling amazeballs.
-Now it's mince time and I drop in little clumps at a time so that it all mixes in well. Yes it's still all on a low heat so it's going to take a little time for it all to brown but something something 'flavour' something something 'intesify.'
-Before the meat is completely brown, I like to throw in a handful of grated carrot. So healthy - This bolognese might actually save a life here!
-Browned to perfection? In goes the tomato sauce/puree/diced tomatoes. And that cheeky splash of red I mentioned before. Stir, simmer, put on something jazzy. Pour another red, dance around smoothly, catch your wife looking at you funny, have another red. 15-20 minutes later, dinner time. Grab that shredded cheese and rain it down under your creation
-Bask in the glory of this amazing concoction, ride the praise wave. Have another bowl. Have two. Clean up what's left with crusty bread. Save some for lunch the next day.
-What a meal, well done.

So...how do you cook yours?

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