I have a fact to establish, in case you don’t already know: I cook for three boys. Two of them have never learned to cook, while the third (fortunately) is my fiancé and actually does very well in the kitchen. However, in my endeavours to get the other two comfortable doing things other than pouring sauce from a jar and ordering pizza, the fiancé really doesn’t get enough time in the kitchen—which is why it’s taken this long to share his beloved spaghetti bolognese recipe.
This is a family recipe, and one that holds much esteem with anyone who’s ever eaten at the Freeman house (which, trust me, is a heck of a large portion of Sydney’s north!). It’s a great go-to for feeding a horde of hungry…. um, anyones! Kids, teenagers, athletes, foreigners, colleagues, in laws, you name it. This spaghetti bolognese is great to roll out on any occasion (and it may have won me over way back in the day… just sayin’!).
Trust me on this one; when it comes to simple dinners, this one’s fantastic. Bring on the spaghetti!
Luke’s Spaghetti Bolognese
Serves: 1 horde (about 16 serves give or take, do halve the recipe if need be!)
Cooking time: 20 minutes hands-on
- 2 large brown onions, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
- 2 kg lean beef (or kangaroo) mince
- 500 mL / 16 oz jar of tomato paste
- 2 cups red wine
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 6-8 tsp beef stock powder or equivalent in cubes
- 4-6 tbsp Italian herbs (or 1 tbsp each of oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, and marjoram, give or take what you have in your pantry)
- 2-4 tbsp sweet paprika
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- plenty of freshly ground black pepper
Heat a few generous lugs of olive oil in a large pot. Cook the garlic and onions until soft and beginning to go a bit golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from pot, and add in about half of the meat. Cook on high heat until well browned; set aside and cook the other half of the meat.
Add back the onion and first half of the meat into the pot with the second half of the meat. Add the remaining ingredients (tomato paste, wine, sugar, spices). Fill up the tomato paste jar with water, shake to loosen up any remaining paste, and add to the pot. Bring up to a low simmer, cover and let cook for 1-2 hours if possible. 40 minutes is the minimum you should let this simmer for, the longer the better! Taste about 30 minutes into the simmering for spices; adjust to your liking. (Note: you probably won’t need to add much extra salt as the stock powder is quite salty already.)
Serve with fresh spaghetti and a generous grating of Parmesan cheese. Freezes very well.