Want to know a secret? Spaghetti Bolognese (or Linguine Bolognese as I often have instead) is my absolute favourite meal in the world. Why is this a secret? Well, it’s not really, as many people who know me are aware of just how often I’ll eat it or order it. Still, it’s a guilty pleasure. It’s not particularly a sexy meal or adventurous. Maybe that’s what draws me to it, it’s a true home comfort – a hug in a bowl. Especially when served with many, many spoonfuls of Parmesan.
When I was young, on holiday in Majorca with my parents and another family, I ordered this dish every single night for a week. I’m not proud of it. The thought of it now makes me cringe with embarrassment and the sadness of food opportunity lost. All that amazing tapas and fresh seafood on offer, and I choose the same old dish night after night. In my defence, I was about 12 at the time. My palate may have changed now and I would certainly never (probably) order this Italian classic while on a warm Spanish Mediterranean island. But I do still love this meal and I eat it at least once or twice a month. More if I’m particularly stressed or in need of cheering up.
I can whip up a perfectly good bolognese in less than half an hour – from start to finish. But sometimes I want to make it richer, more indulgent, even more tasty when I have a little time. This is my ultimate Spag Bol, although I usually now make it with Linguine pasta as I like that it’s a little bit more substantial than spaghetti. The name Lin Bol doesn’t quite have the same ring to it though. On a side note, my mum calls it Spag Bog, and we’ve debated which one is correct – Spag Bog or Spag Bol. In the interest of research for this recipe I checked out Google Trends and the numbers are in, it’s officially Spag Bol.
This Ultimate Linguine Bolognese recipe is for one portion but, please, make at least two! It keeps in the fridge for a few days and freezes pretty well. Have it with spaghetti instead of Linguine if you must – it will still be delicious. If you are counting calories you can also swap the pasta for courgette noodles. The calories from the pasta in this recipe are 270 so you are looking at 430kcal by removing it.
The Ultimate Linguine BologneseCourse: DinnerCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy
The ultimate Linguine Bolognese (although feel free to have traditional spaghetti if you prefer). This recipe combines slow cooked rich tomato sauce, with pan fried panchetta, fresh beef and a beautiful blend of herbs. A dash of red wine deepens the flavour all the more.
25g panchetta or streaky bacon, cut into small strips or pieces
50g onion, diced (around half a large onion)
25g carrot, diced (around 1 medium carrot)
20g celery, diced (around 1 large stick)
1 garlic clove, minced
100g lean beef mince
2 sprigs of thyme
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp tomato puree
200g tinned chopped tomatoes
25ml red wine
3 basil leaves, chopped
85g linguine pasta, dry
olive oil &/or fry light cooking spray
parmesan (optional, to taste)
- Heat some oil or fry light spray (to save on calories) over a medium high heat in a non-stick frying pan and when hot, add the panchetta. Fry for 5 minutes, stirring often for even cooking.
- Add the celery, carrot, onion and fry for a further 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 3 more minutes, ensuring that the garlic is mixed well into the veg.
- Transfer the panchetta and veg into a dish and set aside. Add the minced beef to the pan and use a wooden spoon to break apart and even out throughout the pan.
- Cook until browned and then reduce the heat to low and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Add the veg and onions back to the pan and add the oregano and thyme. Stir everything together well.
- Add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes and wine and season to taste with salt and pepper. Adjust the heat to set the pan to a very light simmer. Cook slowly for around 1 hour.
- 15 minutes before the sauce is ready bring a saucepan of water to the boil. Add the linguine and lower it into the water so it is completely immersed. Add a few drops of olive oil and stir into the water to prevent the pasta from sticking. Cook for 10 minutes and then drain in a colander.
- Add the basil leaves to the bolognese sauce and then add the linguine. Stir the pasta so it is coated well by the sauce and serve. Add grated Parmesan on top (not included in calorie calculation)
- Parmesan is not included in the calorie count for this recipe
- Calories from linguine pasta are 270 in this recipe