Affectionately called ‘Spag Bol’ in my country, this Beef & Mushroom Bolognese Sauce with its deep, rich flavors is perfect to make & freeze or serve now with some pasta or roasted spaghetti squash, a salad & a bottle of your favorite vino (of course).
Bolognese, pasta sauce or meat sauce as it’s referred to here in ‘murica, is nothing new right? But I love my version of it so much I had to share. It has a deep, earthy flavor thanks to the abundance of mushrooms, red wine & tomato paste.
Spag Bol was a regular in our household when I was growing up. Back then I didn’t like it much thanks to the vomit-smelling cheese in the green cylinder impersonating Parmesan. I’m sure at some stage in its stinky life it was actually a wheel of Parmesan minding its own business when it was grated, dried & measured into a cardboard tube by a machine. All I know is, this overly processed product stopped me from enjoying mum’s spag bol…although I did eat it. In our house, you had to eat what you were served, regardless if you liked it or not. I didn’t ever confess & tell mum I didn’t like it. I just ate it, begrudgingly.
There are many ways to serve spag bol. Of course the most traditional is with spaghetti or linguine (pictured), but if you’re cutting back on carbs, serve a small bowl with a lovely, crunchy garden salad or roasted spaghetti squash. You could, god forbid, serve it with zucchini ‘noodles’. Or not!
If more a traditional meat sauce pasta isn’t your thing. This recipe for Pea Pesto & Pancetta Pasta (say that three times fast) or Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Pasta (one of my faves) are both brilliant pasta recipes. I believe pasta can fit into a wholesome diet, even when you’re trying to lose weight. You’re not going to eat it every day. Although the Italians are & they’re not all on diets like half of this country. Keep the portions small, make the ‘sauce’ for the pasta yourself & serve it with a simple salad. The less processed you can make your diet, the better chances are to finding health & the weight loss you might be striving for.
Even if you have your own bolognese or ‘pasta sauce’ recipe you make time & again, give this one a crack & let me know what you think. Until next time,
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion (about 1 onion)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb (453g) ground beef (if possible use grass fed)
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 lb (453g) brown mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup red wine
- 28 oz (796ml) can whole peeled tomatoes, not drained
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
- good pinch of sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- chopped fresh Italian parsley, to serve, optional
- cooked pasta or spaghetti squash, to serve
- Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion & garlic & cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until onion is softened.
- Add beef & cook, breaking up any large lumps, for about 5 minutes or until browned.
- Add tomato paste & cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
- Add mushrooms & cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes or until mushrooms are starting to soften.
- Add wine, tomatoes & their juice, balsamic, oregano sugar, salt & pepper. Break the tomatoes up with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low & cook, uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened.
- Sprinkle with parsley just before serving, if desired. Serve spooned over hot, cooked pasta or spaghetti squash. Serves 6.