Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bolognese ala Mudra de Linguini

Mother's day 2010. Sunday, May 9. My mom went out after lunch because she has to help preparing stuffs for the National Presidential Elections the next day. They came home just a little after 5 pm all tired and exhausted. Needless to say, we were not able to go out and celebrate this year's Mother's day like we used to every year. So instead, my sister and I decided to just throw in a good feast at dinner. And I became a bonafide Chef for a night.

So I googled this recipe and got it from The site is about a brit guy who got married to a girl with a family of italian pasta maestros and generously shared their recipes. I especially picked bolognese since it's the closest thing i know to my mom's good old homemade spag. Here it is:

500g/17.5oz minced beef
1 x 395g/14oz tin of plum tomatoes
1 large glass of full-bodied red wine
1 medium onion (roughly chopped)
1 stick of celery (washed & roughly chopped)
1 medium carrot (peeled & roughly chopped)
2 teaspoons of tomato paste/purée
6-8 washed, torn basil leaves
400g/14oz spaghetti (100g/3.5oz per person)
Salt & pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
2 large pans/skillets (for sauce and pasta)
Vegetable peeler
Food blender/mixer (not essential, but I recommend this handheld mixer)
Around an hour
Step 1 – Prepare the onion and carrot by washing, peeling and chopping them (including getting rid of the carrot's ends). Roughly chop the celery too.
Step 2 – Mix these in your food blender for just a few quick seconds. If you don’t have a mixer, chop them some more - as finely as you can.
Step 3 – Cover the pan with olive oil, and throw in 2 full tablespoons of this 3-veg mixture.
Place this pan on a medium heat, cook and stir it for 3-4 minutes (until the veg starts to soften and brown).
Note: You should have some veg mixture left over. Wrap and freeze this for your next Bolognese!
Step 4 – Pour in a quarter of the wine and leave it for a minute or so (to evaporate some of the alcohol).
Step 5 – Add the mincemeat and break it with a spoon. Throw in half a handful of salt and a little pepper (as you like).
Cook and stir, on a medium heat, for 15 mins (to start the beef cooking).
If the sauce is dry at any point, add another quarter glass of wine (apply this rule throughout this recipe). If you don't have wine, a little water works.
Step 6 – Add the tomato paste, basil leaves (washed and torn) and your chopped plum tomatoes (but not the liquid from the tin).
Cook it all on a low heat for a further 30 mins, stirring every 3-5 minutes.
Step 7 – 10 minutes before the sauce’s time is up, boil a kettle and check your spaghetti's cooking time (see the packet).
Fill your second pan with the boiling water (adding a handful or two of salt) and boil the spaghetti, timing it so that it's roughly ready when the sauce's time is up.
When both are done, drain the spaghetti and divide it into your bowls.
You can add a little oil to stop the strands sticking if you like, then serve the sauce in the centre on top. Garnish with 2 or 3 full basil leaves.
Done! ‘Molto bene’ – very fine!

The finished product was a smashing hit! It tasted really good (not to brag, really) eventhough i missed the celery and substituted mushroom for it. I used linguini flat noodles for added appeal. The wine smelled scary at first but it was all awesome. Me and my mom couldn't have been more proud. It was a feast with overflowing pasta, pizza, soda and ice cream. The next day, there was a huge thank you note posted on the fridge. Belated Happy Mother's Day to all!