Bolognaise Sauce.

Named after the Italian City of Bologna, Bolognaise Sauce has countless uses. It is what is known technically as a ragoût, which is a stew prepared by cooking low and slow and is then used to dress up something else. You can add it to pasta as Spaghetti Bolognaise, or use it as the meaty sauce for Greek Papoutsakia. Rolled up in blanched cabbage leaves it becomes stuffed cabbage, or used with mornay sauce and a hollowed out squash it becomes stuffed pumpkin. At a pinch it can be simply warmed through and spread over toast. 

Ingredients.

¼ cup olive oil.

200g chopped lean bacon.

3 onions, peeled and chopped.

1kg lean beef mince.

6 cloves garlic, crushed.

1 chilli pepper, seeded and diced.

4 tablespoons plain flour.

2 400g cans diced tomatoes.

3 tablespoons tomato paste.

½ tsp ground nutmeg.

1 cup red wine.

½ cup chopped fresh basil. 

Method.

Heat the oil in a sauté pan and fry the bacon. Add the onion and stir fry until soft, then add the mince and stir fry until brown. Add the garlic and pepper, and sprinkle with the flour. Stir through until well incorporated and lump-free. Cook, stirring, for a further 1-2 minutes, then add the tomato pieces, tomato paste, nutmeg and red wine.

Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook slowly for 1 hour. Stir frequently to prevent sticking. Check the seasoning and add a little more salt if required: there should be enough in the bacon, but tastes differ. Remove from the stove, cover and allow to stand for three to four hours to let the flavours combine. If you are preparing this batch to freeze it [it freezes well] this is the time to do it. When getting ready to cook, reheat gently and add the chopped basil. 

Yields: About 6 cups.

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