Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spaghetti Bolognese

It's "Potluck Week" at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC). It's our third week of cooking with Nigel Slater. For Potluck Week, we have the option of cooking from any of our previous featured chefs recipes, but I've decided to use one of his recipes for this week's Potluck.

I've made "A Really Good Spaghetti Bolognese" a couple of weekends ago, for dinner, when the family requested for pasta. This recipe can be found from his book "The Kitchen Diaries", page 21, entered on January 17. 

What drawn me to his recipe is that he uses full-cream milk or cream for his Bolognese. And I was wondering the taste of cream in a Bolognese recipe, as the traditional recipe do not use any cream or milk. That led me to google for info on "Traditional Bolognese Recipe", and found an interesting article here.

I have made some minor changes to the ingredients, using what I have, which are really just minor changes. The changes I've made are, to replace the pancetta with bacon, ground pork instead of lamb or beef. The sauce is cooked as per the recipe instructions below and simmered for about 1-1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, and checking the liquid level so that the sauce do not dry out. Then the milk or cream is poured in a bit at a time, and continue to cook for another 20 minutes.

My notes : Before I added in the cooking cream, I tasted a spoonful of the sauce, it tastes really nice. I then added in about a quarter of the cream, and tasted again, it is nice. Then another quarter of the cream goes in, tasted again, I like it better with lesser cream and better still with no cream! So I stopped at only 100ml of the cream. Overall, this is a very tasty bolognese, though to me, it is not "A Really Good Spaghetti Bolognese" as the name of the recipe. (My favourite is still Jamie Oliver's, which I have posted here). That being said, the family did enjoy this pasta meal, I would not mind cooking this again, and would probably omit the cream.

A Really Good Spaghetti Bolognese
(adapted from "The Kitchen Diaries", Nigel Slater)
50gm butter
70gm cubed pancetta
1 medium onion
2 fat cloves garlic
1 carrot
2 stalks celery
2 large flat mushrooms, about 100gm
2 bay leaves
400gm minced beef or lamb
200ml crushed tomatoes or passata
200ml red wine
200ml stock
1 nutmeg
200ml full cream milk or cream

To serve :
Spaghetti or tagliatelle for 4
grated Parmesan

Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan. I use a cast-iron one about 24cm in diameter - then stir in the pancetta and let it cook for five minutes or so, without colouring much. Meanwhile peel and finely chop the onion and garlic and stir them into the pancetta. Scrub and finely chop the carrot and celery and stir them in, too. Lastly, finely chop the mushrooms and add to the pan, then tuck in the bay leaves and leave to cook for ten minutes over a moderate heat, stirring frequently.
Turn up the heat and tip in the meat, breaking it up well with a fork.
Now leave to cook without stirring for a good three or four minutes then, as the meat on the bottom is starting to brown, stir again, breaking up the meat where necessary, and leave to colour.
Mix in the tomatoes, red wine, stock, a grating of nutmeg and some salt and black pepper, letting it come to the boil. Turn the heat down so that everything barely bubbles. There should be movement, but one that is gentle, not quite a simmer. Partially cover the pan with a lid and leave to putter away for an hour to an hour and a half, stirring from time to time and checking the liquid levels. You don't want it to be dry.
Pour in the milk or cream a bit at a time, stir and continue cooking for twenty minutes. Check the seasoning, then serve with the pasta and grated Parmesan.
Enough for 4.

To view what everyone is bringing for this week's Potluck, please visit IHCC.

and I'm linking this post with :

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  1. This is my husband's favourite pasta dish. Looks yum!

  2. Whenever I see I cook pasta or savory dish, I always say, ok this I must do.. Then I end up procrastinating... I'm such a lazy bummer... How nice if u were my neighbour

  3. I have never used cream or milk in a tomato based sauce. I am sure its rich and thick as a result.

  4. Ah....I long for a big plate of pasta! Joyce, I think cream does not go so well with bolognese. I would leave it out too.

  5. Yum! This is a plate of pure delicious comfort food!

  6. Perfection! it's like a classic that never goes out of style!
    Mary x

  7. I love that book, Kitchen Diaries. It's such a good read and the recipes are a bonus. Love your pasta dish. We had a bolognese this past week but yours looks better. Cheers!

  8. Bolognese is so hearty and comforting. I love yours with pancetta. I will have to try this for next week dinner.

  9. yumm. comfort food. have a nice weekend

  10. There are so many versions of Bolognese! good for you for doing the research and really thinking about what you like as opposed to just accepting the recipe as is... you're a very thoughtful and exacting cook! Great choice for this potluck!

  11. There's nothing like a really good bolognese ... I am with you, I never use cream in bolognese

  12. Bolognese is my family's favourite pasta sauce...this variation looks delicious and would be a huge hit here!

  13. It certainly looks rich and yummy even with only half the cream. I always have to laugh when recipes self-declare "really good" or sometimes even "the best"--it makes me skeptical too. ;-)

  14. a classic that's always loved yours looks picture perfect

  15. Comfort food at its best! Gorgeous!

  16. Interesting how you feel about the cream. Marcella Hazan, who in my opinion was just about the last word in Italian cooking, has a bolognese recipe in her book Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking which calls for simmering the meat in milk - I found I didn't personally like it. The taste somehow ended up too sweet for my liking, and it really changes the texture. Thoughtful work on your part to do a bit of research before you started, and to keep tasting before adding all the cream.