Creamy Cheats’ Bolognese

A good spag bol can turn a bloody awful day into a great one and trust me, I’m speaking from experience when I say that. To me, a bolognese is the ultimate comfort food and an incredibly versatile one at that. A good meat sauce can be enjoyed on it’s own, with spaghetti or layered thick in a cheesy lasagna.

I call this recipe a ‘cheats bolognese’ because it doesn’t contain the standard trio of celery, carrot and onion that you’d normally find at the heart of a traditional ragu. Instead, this sauce simply uses onion and garlic as a base.

The secret to making this sauce extra creamy is a large helping of silky double cream. It’s a pretty decadent addition but it turns a basic sauce into something really special. This is a great Friday night dinner for two or a comforting midweek dish for when you’re feeling a little down in the dumps (hey, it happens).

I use egg pasta in my recipe but the sauce works really well with both regular and whole wheat too, so go with whatever you prefer.

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Ingredients (for two people)

1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium banana shallots (or a small white onion), finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
250g lean beef mince
1 tbsp tomato puree
300ml passata
1/2 a beef oxo cube or beef stock pot
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp double cream
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
200g egg tagliatelle or spaghetti
A few fresh basil leaves, torn
Chopped black olives and parmesan (optional)



To start, heat your oil in a high-sided pan and add the chopped shallots and garlic. Fry on a medium to low heat for a few minutes or until the shallots have begun to soften. Add your beef mince and break it up with a spoon to form small chunks of meat. Then, fry the mince for around 10 minutes until nicely browned.

Once your mince is cooked through, add the tomato puree and cook out for a further minute to reduce the acidity and bitterness of the paste. Next, you should add your passata, stock cube and dried oregano, and cook on a medium heat for around 10 minutes.

Once your sauce has had some time to cook out, add your double cream, salt and pepper, and cook for a final 15 minutes on a low heat.

During this time, boil a pan of water and cook your tagliatelle or spaghetti according to the packet instructions, take a minute off the cooking time for a more al-dente finish.

Once your pasta is cooked, drain it immediately and add it to your bowl – pasta waits for no-one. Top generously with sauce and scatter over your basil leaves. For an additional flavour punch, top with chopped black olives and parmesan cheese.

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