Pasta with meat sauce isn’t exactly a very adventurous recipe; after all, almost everybody has had some form of pasta with a tomato and meat sauce; however, this version includes a few interesting ingredients that add a little extra umami to the sauce. It’s probably the world’s number one comfort food!
I won’t call this pasta Bolognese, simply because it isn’t an authentic Bolognese sauce. It is my take on this type of pasta which packs a lot of flavour and has some unusual ingredients. There’s nothing wrong with the authentic Bolognese sauce; it tastes delicious. But, if you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll realise that I’m not much of a stickler for tradition. I like changing things up a bit and adding my own take to create new flavours.
As with traditional Italian ragu, I always like to start with an onion. I sometimes also add celery and carrot, but not always. However, I always do like to add some fresh garlic because garlic is the best thing in this world, of course, even though it isn’t one of the traditional ingredients. Feel free to skip it if you want. And, of course, the most important step is to remove the pasta when it is still partially cooked and let it finish cooking in the sauce. This makes all the difference; when you finish your pasta in the sauce it tastes so much better. The pasta absorbs the sauce and takes on all the glorious flavours you put in it. My “secret” ingredient, of course, is anchovies. Well, it isn’t exactly a secret ingredient and I didn’t actually invent this idea, however, I do find that it isn’t super mainstream and many people turn up their noses at the idea of adding anchovies to their pasta sauce. Trust me on this one, though, if you want an extra-savoury, umami-filled delicious sauce, then don’t skip this step!
- One pound or 450 grams of lean, minced, grass-fed beef (if you can get your hands on it; otherwise any lean minced beef works)
- Two cups of crushed canned tomatoes
- Two heaped tablespoons tomato paste
- One medium onion, chopped
- Three cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped (optional)
- One cup of red wine (use the cheapest you can get, nobody’s going to notice)
- Four or five anchovies stored in oil; or as many as you like. Anchovies add saltiness, umami, savouriness and flavour. (Be careful with the salt if you’re using lots of anchovies.)
- Salt (to taste, but be careful, the anchovies are very salty, so don’t add too much!), pepper, Italian herbs such as basil, rosemary, thyme, etc. and a 1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional).
- One tablespoon sugar.
- Half a package of store-bought dried spaghetti or any other pasta shape you like.
- Grated parmesan cheese, to serve.
- One tablespoon canola oil
- In a medium saucepan, heat the canola oil. Add the chopped onion and sauté until translucent and slightly browned. Season with a little salt and pepper.
- Add the garlic for one minute, then add the minced meat. Continue to stir until the meat changes colour.
- After the meat has changed colour and browned slightly, add the tomato paste and sugar. Stir until caramelised, then add the anchovies. Stir until the anchovies have disintegrated and become part of the sauce.
- Add the tomatoes and wine, and if necessary half a cup of water. Cover and let it simmer for 1-2 hours on low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Bring a large pot filled with water to a boil, add about one heaped tablespoon of kosher salt.
- Place the pasta in the boiling water and boil until it becomes flexible, but still uncooked on the inside. Drain, reserving about one cup of pasta water.
- Add the pasta to the sauce and stir. Cover and let it cook on medium-low heat, stir occasionally. If the pasta absorbs all the liquid, add some of the reserved pasta water.
- When the pasta is cooked to your satisfaction, serve on plates. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and enjoy!
What’s your favourite pasta recipe? Let me know in the comments!
For more pasta recipes, check out:
© 2019, L.E.. All rights reserved.