Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Family's Love Affair with the Humble Spaghetti Bolognese, and How to Hide Veggies in it for the Fussy Little Eaters

Spaghettie Bolognese... The most popular Aussie family dinner, also my family's most popular family dinner.  Of course, in good days, it's even more popular when I make my own pasta, being papadelle or spaghetti.   But Sam Remo's pasta do just fine for the family sometimes, and family do understand that we don't have the luxury of having fresh pasta every time, mum works full time.

It's a good time for me to sneak healthy veggies in for the children, and I know, if it's not for the fussy eaters, I'd do it differently, but this is how the children accepts them without knowing they are there.

These are the ingredients we normally use, add or leave a few if I don't have them on hand:
1 Onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 sprigs of celery
1 carrot
450g mince (usually lean or premium beef)
a can of diced roma tomato (I'm such a cheat, I should've used fresh tomatos but I'm always in a hurry)
1 red capsicum (if I have time, char grill it and peel it, otherwise just blanch it to peel)
1 zucchini (peeled, and de-seeded to hide it's presence)

for the sauce:
2 heap table spoons of tomato paste
1/2 cup of red wine (I prefer red when I use beef mince, although I do know the white wine should be used instead)
1.5 cup of milk
salt and cracked black pepper to taste
chopped fresh mint, oregano and parsley (I have them in the garden, so I always use a mixture of these herbs)

If I wasn't cooking for the fussy children who'd refuse the sound of vegetables (oh, don't tell them I put capsicum in their pasta sauce!), I'd do the normal way of finely dice all the veggies, saute the onion and garlic first and add mince (probably pancetta before the mince, but hey, I can save a few bucks here because definitely the boy won't touch it) and then add the veggies, saute them... and then..  but, this is not the game plan for the kids, they can spot the veggies!

So, when they are not in the kitchen, I use the food processor to mince the veggies, including the onions, garlic and tomatoes and the already minced meat, and then I do the normal saute business.

Then I add the tomato paste, salt and pepper and wine and herbs, after the "mince" is sauted and fragrant, and add milk and let it simmer for about an hour to an hour and half, depending on how much time I have got till dinner must be served...

Meanwhile, boil some water with a bit of salt, cook pasta to al dente, drain and add a bit of olive oil, and stir well - set aside.

Garnish with fresh parsley and mint, top with shredded Parmesen, and that's how the family will eat it...  Maybe one day, I can do it the traditional way, when the kids are old enough to say yes to the veggies...


  1. I just had this bolognese for dinner! and my boy is the cook so I don't have to worry about vegies not being eaten:D

  2. Your bolognese inspired a few additional cravings over here... it looks so yummy good!

  3. God I haven;t made a bolognese in months! This looks great :)