Or the – what do I have in my pantry that I would really like to use up, Bolognese sauce!
Hello, hello, hello!
As readers will know, I hate waste. I don’t like leftover vegetables or other items not being used and having to be thrown out. That’s one of the reasons that cooking and freezing meals appeals to me so much, because I know there’s no pressure to eat what I have immediately. And I tend to find that pasta sauces are an excellent way of using up odds and ends that might get left alone too long otherwise. In particular Bolognese sauce is fantastic for using up leftover veggies like zucchini, celery, carrot, onions and mushrooms. You can toss in that last sachet of tomato paste, or use up the last of a bottle of passata, or add in some fresh tomatoes! Whatever works for you!
This recipe is very much a – now, what did I have on hand, type recipe. So I will also give suggestions as to what you could use instead if you don’t have the same things. But I do have to say that the more you add in, the more flavour you get out of the sauce, so to speak. I find the Bolognese sauces with mushroom have a much richer flavour than those without, and that those with tomato paste are nice and thick while those without can be quite watery. It also helps to add a good glug of my good friend, gluten-free Worcestershire sauce.
Readers will think that I add this particular sauce to every dish I make, and you wouldn’t be far from the truth. I tend to find that there are few dishes, unless the cuisines truly clash, where I can’t give it that little bit of pizzaz by adding a dash of gluten-free Worcestershire sauce. For me it’s a must in Bolognese sauce. Although I have recently been introduced to the notion of a combination of brown sugar and balsamic vinegar, which I am keen to get the recipe for so I can try it at home.
And in other news, what else have I been up to? Well, I have been very busy these past two weeks. But I have also been doing more sewing! I have to say that the crowning achievement of this past fortnight has been getting to sew with a new friend, acquiring my first dress form mannequin, and finally finding the manual and learning how to properly thread my mother’s sewing machine. I realise only now I’m in drastic need of more bobbins! But I am starting to get a feel for this beast, and I will be taking it to my new friend’s house to finish working on an old project soon! So that we can then begin even more projects of course, haha!
Whatever You’ve Got Bolognese Sauce
Serves: 4-6, Prep: 10 mins, Cook: 40-45 mins
- 1 brown onion, diced
- You can also use a sprinkling of onion powder if you don’t have a fresh onion
- 2 x carrots, diced, plus a good mix of other diced veg if you have it
- e.g a few sticks of celery, up to 100-200g button mushrooms, or even 2 zucchini, grated and with the excess moisture squeezed out.
- 500g pork and veal mince
- Straight beef mince also works.
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- Crushed garlic, or about 1-2 fresh cloves crushed, also works
- 800g thickened diced tomatoes
- Or regular diced tomatoes, but add 2-4 tbsp of tomato paste for thickness
- 1 generous glug of gluten-free Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup/125 ml red wine
- Or if you’re using 2 x 400g tins of diced tomatoes, you could also fill one can roughly 1/3 of the way up with red wine, if you’re not fussed about being exact.
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp mixed Italian herbs
- Or go for a mix of herbs like oregano, basil, parsley, marjoram, that sort of thing.
- 500ml tomato passata
- If you can only get larger passata bottles, not to worry! I freeze whatever is left either in ice-cube trays or in ziplock bags, flattened out. Or you could add the whole lot, the recipe will just be wetter.
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Oil for cooking
- Heat some oil in a large-ish saucepan over medium to high heat, and then cook the onion for about five minutes or until it starts to brown and has turned translucent.
- I like to pop the hard vegetables in now, like carrot or celery, as well as any mushrooms, and cook for a further 5 mins. I like to do this now it gets them all cooking and helps cook the water out of the mushrooms a bit. You can keep cooking until the moisture from any mushrooms is completely gone if you prefer.
- Add in the garlic, and cook for a twenty to thirty seconds.
- Then add in the mince, and cook until browned.
- Add in the tomato paste, if using, and stir, before adding the rest of the ingredients. Or simply add the rest of the ingredients including any soft vegetables now and stir to combine.
- Bring up to the boil, then reduce the mixture to a simmer, and simmer – partially covered, for 25-30 mins. Make sure to stir occasionally.
- Simmer until the vegetables are soft, and the bolognese sauce is nice, thick and rich. Taste test it now, and feel free to add anything else you think it needs, like more herbs, more Worcestershire, etc.
- If you’re happy, remove the bayleaf and serve with gluten-free pasta! Or on gluten-free toast!
NOTE: This sauce can be frozen in portions, just allow it to cool a little before scooping into ziploc bags, or into freezer safe containers.