Thursday, April 22, 2010

Good ol' spag bol

There are lots of reasons why just about everyone has bolognese sauce with spaghetti (p100) in their repertoire. It's cheap, easy and you nearly always have mince in the freezer and a can of tomatoes in the cupboard (unless you're a mad tomato-hater like some people I could mention). I would also have said that it's quite a quick meal - certainly it is the way I'd normally make it - but The Edmonds recipe actually takes a while.

The recipe begins in the usual way - frying the onion and browning the mince. Then you add herbs, tomato paste and canned tomatoes. It says to put the tomatoes through a seive. I had a go at this, but I don't recommend it - it's a bit of a mission and, since the flesh won't go through, only the juice, you end up wasting a fair bit of tomato. I'd just use a can of chopped tomatoes. Or, if you prefer a smooth texture, blitz them in a blender/food processor, or get a jar of tomato passata.

The part I found weird was that after adding all the above, you also pour in a whole heap of water (4 cups for the full recipe; 2 for me with my usual half). Then the sauce needs to be brought to the boil and simmered for 45 minutes. I'm not sure what the point of this is. It seems quite silly to put a lot of water in, only to reduce it back out again. How would that add to the flavour of the sauce?

I wouldn't normally add water; just reduce it for about 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened a bit. However, this time I was following the recipe, so I put in the water, set the sauce to simmer and went to do some pilates.

Don't worry: I kept an eye on the stove. Periodically pausing the DVD and running into the kitchen to check and stir the sauce probably wasn't the best for my pilates session, but at least I didn't set fire to my kitchen (though it's actually quite hard to imagine anything less flammable than a pan of tomatoey water with  bit of mince and stuff floating in it).

Eventually the sauce had reduced down suitably and I put on a pot of spaghetti. Some seasoning and a few shavings of parmesan and I had my plate of spag bol. It was quite yummy, but I found it slightly bland. I'd cooked out the water, but the tomato flavour still seemed a bit watered down. I prefer my usual method, which consists of much the same ingredients and method - all except the water. It's much quicker, and in my opinion, tastier as well.


  1. That all sounds fair enough to me. There doesn't seem much point in making spag bol difficult!?c

  2. Those tomato haters are just WEIRD :) *not looking at anyone in particular*


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