Whole meat Ragu alla Bolognese - Spag Bol on steroids

15:07

Pasta bolognese with whole beef

Although hopefully not literally on steroids, I used a nice piece of organic brisket, so would hope it to be quite steroid-free. But this is spag bol like you've never had before. Unless you have had this before.

I am reposting this recipe because there is a shocking lack of whole meat bolognese related posts in the food blogging scene. There are  over 11 million results for pasta bolognese, go on try, but they are all made of ground beef. I didn't read them all, but made a sweeping assumption just like that.

To further justify my reposting I also made some crucial improvements (added two bay leaves) to my original recipe and took some new pictures as I made this for our Saturday dinner yesterday. The pictures are sadly as pathetic as the previous ones. I never have much time or energy for choreographing my photos, lighting design goes only as far as to ensure you can't see my shadow in the picture, although sometimes you can, at least a finger or two. I just want to shovel the food into my mouth asap.

I do feel it's my culinary responsibility to point out that you really should not have a bolognese sauce with spaghetti at all, but with tagliatelle (tag bol). But we Brits (I'm not an official Brit, but maybe an honorary one) like to death defyingly go where no one has gone before in manner of Shackleton or Mallory, although they didn't so much defy as die, but never mind that, and fearlessly ignore the Accademia Italiana della Cucina rules about pasta shapes.

I do have a proper reason to go for spaghetti other than mere disobedience, which is as follows. I like whole wheat pasta because it has more taste and has a nicer firm texture. The texture difference it at it's most relevant when you have slightly overcooked your pasta. Again. It is also of course healthier. The problem is I can't find whole wheat in most pasta shapes. Usually there's only spaghetti, penne and farfalle. I think penne or farfalle would be all wrong for this dish. I think penne particularly is just boring, I use it almost never.

So there. My all time favourite bolognese ragu, thick, chunky and fun. Pour yourself a glass of red, fill you plate and sprinkle a good layer of cheese on top. It is the icing on the cake, or as the Italians aptly put it: come il cacio sui maccheroni - like cheese on pasta!

Slow cook beef brisket bolognese sauce with whole wheat pasta


Recipe: Classic whole meat Ragu alla Bolognese sauce (serves 4)


2 onions
2 stalks of celery
2 carrots
5 gloves of garlic
1.2 kg brisket of beef
2 tsp dry oregano (or 2 tbsp fresh)
1 tsp dry rosemary (or 1 tbsp fresh)
2 tsp dry basil (or 2 tbsp fresh)
Salt 
Black pepper
1 cup red wine
2 cups beef stock
1 can tomatoes
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp tomato puree
5 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 bay leaves

Parmesan (or pecorino) to serve

Heat oven to 180C. Cut the beef into about 2 cm chunks, the idea is that you cook the meat until it almost disintegrates, so the size of the pieces is not so important. Although the smaller you make them the quicker it cooks, but speed is not what this recipe is about.

Chop the onions, carrots and celery. Mince the garlic. Chop fresh herbs if using.

Heat some oil in a dutch oven and brown the meat in batches until browned on all sides, remove onto a plate. In the same pan cook the chopped onion, celery and carrot for a few minutes, add minced garlic and cook for another couple of minutes. Return the meat to the pan. Add the red wine and let boil for a minute or two, then add stock, tomatoes, tomato pure, herbs, sugar, salt and pepper. Cover and place in the oven. Cook for 2-3 hours, or however long it takes for the meat to be soft enough to be falling apart. Add liquid if necessary while it’s cooking.

Sprinkle some grated parmesan or pecorino and chopped fresh basil on top and serve with tagliatelle of fettucine and some extra grated parmesan on the side.

Ragu alla bolognese sauce with whole wheat pasta






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