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Spaghetti Bolognaise
Spaghetti Bolognaise
spaghetti topped with a beef, tomato and herb sauce

Spag Bol is usually a family favourite; plus it's cook-friendly and all done on the stove top. Traditionally it is made with beef mince, but minced pork, veal, lamb or chicken can be substituted. I have included capsicum for added flavour and Cajun spice for a bit of a zing. When our kids were younger, I was sneaky and cut the pre-cooked vegetables small, then mixed them in with the sauce; and they never complained. Here I've ringed the bowl with cauliflower, broccoli and carrot - if you look really closely, you can see the spaghetti underneath. Switch the types of vegies if you like; or forget them altogether, if you prefer the dish straight.

300-400g spaghetti (depends how hungry your diners are!) Gluten-Free spaghetti is available
2-3 litres salted (optional) water
400g lean beef mince
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
½ tsp Cajun spice (optional)
1 onion, quartered lengthways, then sliced
¼ capsicum, finely chopped
1Tbsp cream sherry
¼ cup red wine
400g diced or crushed tomatoes
1 tsp mixed Italian herbs (or oregano and basil)
½ tsp salt

Grated Parmesan and sprigs of Italian parsley to garnish
A selection of pre-cooked vegetables (optional)

In a medium-sized pan or skillet, heat the olive oil, then fry the garlic and Cajun spice (if using) for 1 minute. Add the onion with the capsicum and cook until the onion starts to become transparent (about 4 minutes). Pour in the wine and sherry, then continue cooking a further 3 minutes. Now the meat goes in. This will need to be broken up and turned frequently to both cook through (approximately 5 minutes) and separate (unless you want a chunky sauce). Lastly, add the salt, tomatoes and herbs. Bring the mixture to the boil while stirring - use the back of a spoon to crush any large lumps of tomato. Once boiling, turn down to simmer for 15 minutes, partially covered, stirring occasionally. The sauce should be quite thick, but not dry, so mix in a little water if necessary.

While the sauce is finishing, bring the 2 or 3 litres of (salted) water to the boil in a large pan, then introduce the spaghetti. Keep the water just boiling and move the spaghetti around with a spaghetti server or wooden spoon - if you don't, the pasta will stick together and won't cook evenly. Test a small piece occasionally (watch burning yourself!) - ideally it should be al dente; that's when it is soft enough to bite through easily, but it still sticks to your teeth.

Serves 4 - 6 with the vegetables

the sauce freezes well

Click this Click for PDF file image to view or print recipe.

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