Spag Bol base

Discussion in 'Geek Food' started by Madengineer, Apr 12, 2014.

  1. OP

    Madengineer Member

    May 27, 2011
    Ya telling me!

    I think I'm going to have to try each of them :D

    But seriously, thanks for the recommendations guys :)
  2. NSanity

    NSanity Member

    Mar 11, 2002
    You want equal parts by volume beef/veal mince (not lean/heartsmart/premium - the fat is what drives the flavour) to Soffritto (onion, celery, carrot - diced to similar sized pieces).

    Start Caramelising about half to a full Brown Onion w/ Star Anise in the pan - you are going to want to remove star anise after about 1 hr in the stock pot. I usually make sure i use a fairly robust looking one so its easier to fish out.

    Do the Soffritto before the meat, it leaves less on the pan base. Cook till the Onion becomes translucent - toss into a stock pot (this will need to be relatively large).

    Brown Mince in Batches - i usually do 200-300g at a time, again, tossing into the stock pot.

    Sautee some 1-1.5cm diced Pork Scotch fillet (about 50% of the beef mince worth) - again, you want the fat. Again tossing into the stock pot.

    Deglaise pans w/ White wine - Chardonnay if you're being picky about it - you want all the "burnt" bits on the pan, full of flavour.

    Add Chicken Stock + a lot of herbs (recently I use Parsley, Oregano, Thyme - not fresh basil though it wilts pretty quickly). a Cup Red Wine. Add 2-4 Can's Diced Tomato (honestly I add enough to be "red". Add 1/4-1/2 cup (full fat) milk. All the Liquid components should *just* cover meat.

    Add Worcester Sauce (decent splash), Fish Sauce (few drops), Tabasco (few drops), Ketchup (good squirt). Salt & pepper to taste. Note that this can take on *loads* of black pepper.

    Simmer covered for at least 90 mins (don't forget to remove the star anise at 1 hour), stirring every 30. Serious diminishing returns after about 4 hours - although i have cooked it overnight before in a slow cooker.

    If you find that its too watery towards the end, turn it up a bit so its rapidly simmering, remove the lid and stir every 10 minutes till its the consistency you're after. Using *real* stock helps a ton here, most powdered ones don't have the gelatin in it that real stock does, which helps with the thickening.

    If you want to be fancy, you can step things up to Veal mince, replace the tinned diced tomatoes with fresh roma's (de-skinnned, seeds removed and even so far as fried in olive oil or pressure cooked to intensify the tomato flavour), add some slightly sauteed unsalted tomato paste, simmer beef stock into the mince/diced pork till dry and various other things - but the recipe above doesn't require too much mucking about and never fails to impress.


    re: Pork Mince VS Pork fillet. Honestly I find that the texture works better with Diced fillet. I've tried dicing before cooking and after - but you end up with more maillard reaction goodness if you dice before.

    re: wtf fish sauce? star anise? these are Umami boosters, they go hand in hand with Tomato, and work *really* well with Beef / Bolognese. Star Anise wants to be pulled out just before it starts to taste too aniseedy. If you can just put your finger on it tasting of aniseed, thats the time to pull it out.

    re: Ketchup, tomato paste, diced tomatos? its about layering the tomato flavour to give it depth.

    re: Chicken stock vs Beef stock? If you have to choose one, Chicken is better, more "vegetable" flavours in it and works well. Trust me, it will still taste super meaty.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2014
  3. Grom Hellscream

    Grom Hellscream Member

    Jun 7, 2004
    Up in the boonies
    Alternatively, use my recipe, drop the herbs, use lamb mince and throw in a sprig of chopped rosemary. That works really well too :thumbup:
  4. special.k

    special.k Member

    Mar 29, 2008
    Canned tomatos
    Tomato paste
    Beef stock
    Brown sugar

    Boom :thumbup:
  5. ?HILTHY

    ?HILTHY Member

    Dec 25, 2001
    I squeeze a bit of lime in mine .. few minutes before serving
  6. romanx

    romanx Member

    Feb 12, 2008
    Adelaide, SA
    Bolognaise has been something I made regularly for years, but I've adjusted it a bit recently with some food allergies, but I also found it far too rich and "heavy" after I finished.

    I've ditched using onion, and no longer use a tin of diced tomatoes, and it's been cut down very simple.

    I do this to give me some to freeze for work lunches (cook the pasta later because pasta goes to arse after it's been frozen).

    1kg beef mince
    1 x jar Coles Passata italian sauce (690g)
    1 x tin Coles Tomato Paste (140g)
    2 x teaspoons minced garlic
    a generous pinch of mixed herbs (don't usually use it though)
    ground up pepper and salt
    3/4-1 cup of chopped spinach
    1 x grated carrot

    Brown the mince, drain any moisture left over.
    Throw in the garlic and go for a few minutes.
    Drop the passata and tomato paste in, give it 5 minutes and stir every now and then.
    Throw in the spinach, pepper, salt, herbs and carrot.
    Give it all a good stir, add some water as you see fit and then leave it to simmer.

    You can usually do all this in under half an hour, it's a quick and dirty method but I don't have the time to go full hog on it.

    I can't have overly acidic foods anymore so this cuts it back a bit by not using the tinned tomatoes.

    MR CHILLED D'oh!

    Jan 2, 2002
    Omicron Persei 8
    Quite often I will use the following:

    Dolmio pasta sauce
    Tomato sauce
    Some sort of herb
    Can of diced tomatos
  8. The_Derro

    The_Derro Member

    Jul 15, 2001
    Here is mine.

    1 large onion (diced)
    500g beef, or pork/veal mix
    2 carrots (grated)
    handful of mushrooms (diced)
    capsicum (diced)
    half an eggplant, diced small
    1/2 cup beef stock
    1 glass red wine
    2 can tomatoes
    tomato paste
    'erbs to taste (oregano, basil, pepper)
    1/2 cup of full cream milk

    dice onion and garlic and cook in oil to soften.
    add in carrot. soften
    add in meat. brown off

    add capsicum, cook until softening (2-3mins)
    add mushrooms
    add eggplant
    add wine
    add stock gradually as everything softens and the eggplant/mushrooms start soaking up the liquid.
    add tomato paste - I usually put it in until it 'looks' right :)
    add tomatoes

    bring to high heat, then simmer for as long as possible or until desired thickness. Add in milk while simmering. It thickens and cuts some of the sweetness of the tomatoes.

    Om nom nom nom.
  9. flinchy

    flinchy Member

    Jan 18, 2007
    Actual italian family recipe:

    tinned tomato AND puree for when making in bulk with little notice

    slightly over-ripe for the 'real deal'

    bulk olive oil, fistfulls of all herbs, fry the onion and carrot off, add all the tomato

    everything to taste, none of this recipe bs

    and a bunch of good mince.

    oh and can't forget the red wine. drinkable red wine. needs the wine.

    9/10 times though, i'm too lazy to do this and just use a jar of dolmio or something as a base.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2014
  10. tunagirll

    tunagirll Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    Wandi, WA
    I have a recipe here for a no meat sauce that is amazing, uses a half block of butter though (you've been warned)

    Also one that is oven cooked 2 hours with meat in.
  11. kombiman

    kombiman Dis-Member

    Dec 3, 2006
    viva brisvegas
    You can't put up a post like that without recipes. Especially the two hour meat one!
  12. tunagirll

    tunagirll Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    Wandi, WA
    Spaghetti meat sauce (also used for lasagne):

    10 slices pancetta, chopped
    Handful rosemary, picked and chopped
    Olive oil
    1 large onion, finely diced
    5 cloves of garlic, finely diced
    500g chuck steak, trimmed and largely diced
    1 glass of good red wine
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1 x 400g tin tomatoes
    1 x 200g jar sundried tomatoes, drained and chopped
    salt and pepper

    Heat oven to 180 C

    Fry the pancetta and rosemary in a little olive oil until golden. Add the onion and garlic and fry until softened. Add the chuck and fry 2-3 minutes. Add the wine. Reduce slightly and then add the oregano, tomato and sundried tomatoes. Season well to taste, bring to the boil.

    Cover with greaseproof paper and place in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. Fork apart the meat when done and use as required.
  13. tunagirll

    tunagirll Member

    Feb 3, 2005
    Wandi, WA
    Scarpetta spaghetti sauce (cholesterol alert!)

    3 tbsp plus 1/2 cup olive oil
    12 roma tomatoes, skinned and deseeded, juice reserved
    10 cloves garlic
    ~ 2 dozen leaves of fresh basil whole, plus 1 dozen sliced into ribbons
    1 dried birdseye chilli
    1/2 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese
    2 tablespoons unsalted butter

    Enrich the oil:

    Heat 1/2 cup of oil over medium heat, with the garlic, basil and chilli. Cook until garlic browns, then remove from the heat and leave aside.


    Heat 3tbsp oil over a medium-high heat in a large frying pan. Add the tomatoes and salt, and cook until they soften. Use a potato masher to break up the tomato into a sauce. If it's too thick, add some of the reserved juice from the tomatoes. Cook for 20 minutes.

    Strain the infused oil and add half to the sauce.

    Cook your pasta until it's half - 2/3 done then add it to the sauce along with 1/4 cup or so of the pasta water. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

    Remove from heat, stir in the cheese, butter and the sliced basil leaves and toss to mix. Serve hot, drizzled with remaining oil.
  14. DumbparameciuM

    DumbparameciuM Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Lots of good stuff in here so far, just thought I'd add a few quick tips:

    1. Keep a small amount of the water from cooking your pasta, and add it to the sauce.
    2. If you think your sauce needs some additional creamyness, add a teaspoon of butter (per 2 serves) and rapidly stir in.
    3. Just a rando tip I picked up from an old Bourdain vid - when you add the pasta to the sauce, you wanna be mixing that shit like sponge cake. The goal is aeration. Not so violent that you mess your pasta up, ofc. But you want the pasta and the sauce to be active when you combine them over heat. Not sure if this has been mythbusted by anybody, I've been doing it for so long that it's automatic now.
  15. Cephas

    Cephas Member

    Aug 30, 2002
    Dicing a reasonable quality salami into the mix adds a bit of extra kick.
  16. Shaetano

    Shaetano Member

    Apr 22, 2002
    not sure about the sponge cake thing, but the rest is a good point. I always cook my pasta to just before it's al'dente and then transfer it to the sauce to cook the rest of the way (with a little pasta water if required). If you don't mind the extra calories some parmesan and butter mixed in at this point is great too :)
  17. PhantomAU

    PhantomAU Member

    Feb 26, 2008
    Adelaide, 5052
    The base I use for spag bol & lasanga.

    you will need a big fry pan & a big pot.

    500gm beef mince
    500gm pork mince
    1x Onion
    couple of cloves of garlic
    2x carrots
    handful of mushrooms
    Thyme, parsley, basil, rosemary.
    Jensen's Organic Pasata
    Cold press extra virgin Australian olive oil.
    Glass of good red wine
    Bunch of spinach or black Kale/Cavalo Nero.

    • Brown the mince in batches (do not cook all at once, take your time), drain and place in pot
    • Fry the onions and add the crushed garlic just at the end so it doesn't burn-> pot.
    • peel & grate the carrots -> pot.
    • Fry the sliced mushrooms with lots of oil and with the thyme -> pot.
    • finely chop the herbs and add to the pot.
    • deglaze the frypan with the wine (evaps some alcohol )and add to the pot.
    • add the wine & pasata to the pot.
    • remove the stems from the kale or spinach, wilt in boiling water, drain, finely slice and add to the pot. if you use baby spinach, just add directly. This can be done at the start or halfway through/near the end.
    • bring the pot to the boil and then reduce to a light simmer for a few hours, you may need add a little water depending on how you like/if covered.

    serve with pasta or use in lasagna.
  18. oliverg

    oliverg Member

    May 6, 2003
    Heston based Spag Bol = win

    Nsanity, this is an amazing recipe :)

    I use this, or variants of it to make lasagna as well as bolognese ragu. Once you've made it this way, you never go back.

    Try these tomatoes if you can't be bothered using your own.

    They are oven roasted first and really reduce down well.
  19. no5isalive

    no5isalive Member

    Jan 23, 2013
    Guys please. Spag Bol is simple and should stay simple.

    Fry onions
    Add garlic
    Add seasoned mince - I prefer beef
    Fry off and break up until browned
    Add passata - available at Coles/woolies/continental store
    Salt / chilli to taste

    MR CHILLED D'oh!

    Jan 2, 2002
    Omicron Persei 8
    it is but there is a danger of making it rather bland/boring tasting. Not hard to spice it up to give it a great flavour. It's up there with my favourite meals.

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