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If you ask a dozen Italian nonnas what the perfect recipe is for a bolognese sauce, each lovely lady will give you a different answer if they don’t chastise you for even daring to inquire about a secret family recipe. The art of cooking the perfect ragu requires technique, patience, and good equipment. Millions of people all over the world will be sitting down to a hearty bowl of spaghetti bolognese tonight so what separates the mediocre from the gourmet?
Before you even start to think about cooking up a storm in the kitchen, you need to ensure that you have the right utensils. Sharp knives are a must. There’s nothing worse than hacking an onion to within an inch of its life, tearing the fibers and releasing even more juice and vapors that will cause your salty tears to possibly taint the food. Invest in a sharp set of knives with a good amount of flexibility. Store them on a magnetic rack for hygiene reasons and only ever hand wash.
How many times have you cooked a sauce, only to witness its demise after sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning? It’s important that you buy the best stainless steel cookware for your home that is within your budget. By purchasing stainless steel, you will have a quality product that will last you decades.
The perfect spaghetti bolognese recipe is shrouded in mystery and opinions as to what makes one dish more authentic than the next differ wildly. There are a few aspects to your ragu that you may wish to tweak to see if it enhances the flavor of your bolognese.
Frying a couple of rashers of streaky bacon before sauteing your onion can enhance the flavor of your sauce intensifying the seasoning. You may not need to add as much salt due to the nature of the bacon, and the added fat can add another layer to your dish. You may want to try lardons or smoky bacon for an extra twist.
Many Italians swear by a splash of balsamic to give their sauce an extra kick. By frying off your onions in a balsamic-like glaze, you will reduce the sharpness of the vinegar to a much sweeter and thicker consistency. These can result in chutney type elements to your ragu.
No ragu is complete without the pasta. Whereas spaghetti may be the dried pasta of choice, many others would swear by linguine. The larger surface area allows the sauce to stick to the pasta more giving you a better ratio of sauce to pasta in every tasty mouthful.
When you are dishing up your spaghetti and sauce, after topping your culinary creation with a sprinkling of parmesan, why not add a flourish of grated nutmeg. In a similar way to the Greek dishes of moussaka and kleftiko, the aromatic spice of nutmeg can lift even the most bog-standard spaghetti bolognese.
Oregano? Basil? Thyme? The herb combinations you might choose for your regu are endless and can make a bolognese taste slightly different every time you make it. That is the joy of a spaghetti bolognese. This hearty meal is cheap, filling and can be the most delicious midweek meal for the entire family to enjoy. Why not have a go at tweaking your recipe using one of these tips and see if you hear cries of brava and belissimo around the dinner table.