About this recipe:Not a quick meal by any standards but easy, and not many people don't like a spaghetti Bolognese - Kids included! For this I've based it on the recipe my wife and mother use but made a few changes to suit my taste. Apologies if it is oversimplified in places; I expect anyone with some sort cooking experience to know whether to stir more often or not, but I wanted anyone to be able to pick this up and follow it. Please note that I use measuring spoons, which are normally larger than standard cutlery.
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Method Prep:30min › Cook:2hr › Ready in:2hr30min
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and fry the diced onions and minced garlic until the onions soften.
Add the minced beef and fry with the onions and garlic. Try to break up any clumps of of mince and continue to fry until the mince is browned.
Add everything else but the water - chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, red wine, Italian seasoning, stock cubes, mushrooms, bell pepper, basil, oregano, salt, paprika, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaves - and stir well.
Whether you need water will depend on how much time you've got. Ideally I would cook this for around 2 hours and would need the water to stop it burning (And would maybe need a splash or so during cooking if it was boiling down quicker than I would like). You can however cook it through in around 40 minutes or so if you're in a rush but you would obviously want less liquid then (The wine and juice from the chopped tomatoes would probably be enough).
Cook the Bolognese on a high heat for about 5 minutes to get everything really bubbling and stir frequently.
Turn down the heat and simmer for as long as you require and stir occasionally to prevent burning. The longer you intend to cook it through, the lower the heat required. If you are doing it quickly on a higher heat, then obviously it needs to be stirred more often. If you do need to add water during cooking then do it a small amount at a time. It sometimes takes a couple of minutes for the added liquid to mix fully.
Once the sauce has reached the right consistency (It should be rich and thick and not watery) then turn off the heat and cook the pasta. I find leaving the leaving the sauce to cool in the saucepan for about 10 minutes while the pasta is cooking, means that people aren't burning their tongues when it's served!