Every famous chef has their ‘thing’. If I were a famous chef, my ‘thing’ would be simple dinners – food you only need 2 or 3 ingredients for, plus your imagination to create unique variations every night. Tonight, it’s bolognaise (or bolognese).
Bolognaise is my favourite food at the moment. You only need 3 ingredients for a decent basic recipe – meat, tomato, garlic. Unseasoned beef has a nice flavour, crushed tomato is juicy with a nice flavour, garlic ties it all together. Simple.
Of course, it’s not real authentic traditional bolognese, but it is a simple unpretentious, minimalist meat dish to go with pasta – delicious enough on nights when you don’t want a fuss.
From here, you’re free do whatever you like to suit your mood. For example:
- Use fresh herbs – oregano, parsley, dill
- Add mushroom, carrot, sweetcorn or zucchini for interesting textures
- Balsamic vinegar or tabasco sauce goes nicely with hearty beef flavour
- Make it extra spicy with cut chilli
- Use meat chunks instead of mince (more like a casserole)
- Use infused oil for different flavours
On that first point – I don’t cook my meat in oil much these days. I’ve experimented with oil, lots of oil, less oil and no oil, and I can’t tell the difference. So I opt for not using oil, desperate to say that I’m doing my bit to be healthy at age 29. Water-frying works too; helps to use flavoured water – bit o’ Bovril, anyone?
Pasta cooking tips
We eat a lot of pasta at home. I’m no expert, but here’s some stuff I’ve learned:
- Salting the water makes it tasty, which is nice, but not necessary, not even luxurious. It’s just a variation. Avoid this if you get too much salt in your diet already.
- After straining and serving up your pasta, stir a dash of olive oil into any leftover plain pasta. This stops it drying out while you eat the first helping.
- Start boiling the water when you start preparing your meat. They’ll both end up ready at the same time.