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  • Writer's pictureChef Dylan

CLASSIC SPAG BOL




This recipe is an authentic Italian classic with a rich herbaceous Bolognese sauce. The result is a hearty wholesome meal for the whole family to enjoy.

This pasta dish with meaty sauce is rarely called by its full name but instead we all affectionally refer to it as good ol' 'spag bol'. It is what most of us would consider as the quintessential Italian meal. I must admit I have a rather nostalgic soft spot for this wonderful sauce as my mother was a master of this old classic when I was a young boy. It's simple to make and nourishing and destroys hunger every time.



Did you know? This sauce is traditionally referred to as a ragu; a meat-based sauce that has its history in the region of Bologna in Italy. The first reference to this Bolognese meat based ragu appears in Pellegrino Artusi ’s cookbook published in 1891.


Chef Dylan tip: 1. Buy good quality beef mince from your local butcher as the normal supermarket mince is way below par. Trust me, you'll notice the difference in water and fat release but most of all taste. 2. The secret is to let the the sauce very gently simmer and not let too much water evaporate.


Arncliffe, Sydney 1995

I remember being at rugby league footy training one night; I’m about seven-years-old and my father, as the coach of the team, is making us go through a surprise attack move called the ‘cane toad’. It’s a set move for when we get a scrum on the right-hand side of the field 10 to 15 metres out from the try line. “OK, this is the last run through of this move. OK boys, let's get this right!” exclaims Dad as he begins to turn into an imaginary ref and blows a pretend whistle. “Penalty Arncliffe Scots,” he declares. I now kick the ball as close as I can, out on the full on the left side of the field. Dad then proceeds to pretend that he is blind and is using a cane. The signal. “Cane toad” I call out and we set the scrum.


Now my role, as the first receiver, is to fool the opposition and to get them thinking we will be playing out to the left, as we have all of our backs lined up ready and calling for the ball. After fooling the defence I flick pass it to Roger our winger who is on the burst down the blindside, hence the name ‘cane toad'. It’s a play on the word cane and was a sure way for us to remember this blindside move. Finally, after we had been going over and over the move for the last hour we were done. All I could think about was devouring a large bowl of spaghetti Bolognese that I had seen mum getting ready as we left for training.


As we walked in the front door, we were instantly greeted with the wonderful smell of simmering Bolognese and fresh baked garlic bread. When I sat down with a steaming bowl of this before me it took every ounce of strength not to start just sending fistfuls of this deliciousness into my mouth. My tastebuds danced with joy as I began to taste the rich tomato and beef-based sauce.


Spag bol is the ultimate comfort food, freezer friendly and gets the thumbs up around the dinner table. I hope you enjoy making this recipe as much as I do.


PREP TIME: 15 mins

COOKING TIME: 1 hr

SERVINGS: 4-6


INGREDIENTS

  • 300g spaghetti, uncooked

  • 4½ tablespoons olive oil, divided

  • 500g minced beef

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped

  • ½ tablespoon garlic, minced

  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes

  • 2 tbsps tomato paste

  • 4 tbsps GAUCHO

  • Handful of fresh basil leaves (optional)

  • ¼ cup parmesan or tasty cheese

METHOD

  1. Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium size cooking pot for 2 minutes over medium high; heat until the hot oil sizzles. Add ground beef about 100g at a time and stir well to cook until browned ~3 to 5 minutes. Repeat until all meat is browned.

  2. Add onion and garlic. Stir well to combine and continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes until soft and tender.

  3. Add GAUCHO and stir well to combine.

  4. Add tomato paste, cook off stirring for 1 minute.

  5. Add tin chopped tomatoes. Then turn the heat down to really low and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally.

  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium high heat. Add spaghetti and keep stirring it and cook till al dente (fully cooked but still firm) according to package directions approx.10 minutes. Drain.

  7. Add 1 tablespoon butter back into large pot and add the spaghetti to the pot and toss well to coat with the butter.

  8. Serve the spaghetti on the bottom of the bowl. Add the sauce lavishly with a sprinkle of parmesan.

TO SERVE


Garnish with a few basil leaves and enjoy with some cheesy garlic bread. Perhaps alongside an Italian red, I like a nice Chianti or Montepulciano.


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