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Family Bolognese

It’s my family bolognese and I’ll do what I want to… and that includes adding some very untraditional ingredients! But trust me – there’s always method to the madness. Here, eggplant performs double duty as hidden veg (parents, thank me later) but also to lend a velvety feel to proceedings, while soy sauce (sorry, Italy) adds a depth of umami you’d only get if you’d simmered your sauce for hours. The moral of this story? Everything has a place, everything works. The end.  

WATCH THIS RECIPE

Family Bolognese

PREP TIME
15 minutes
COOK TIME
1 hour 20 minutes
SERVES
8-10
Ingredients

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely diced

1 eggplant, trimmed, cut into 1cm (about ⅜ inch) dice

800g (1 lb 12 oz) beef mince

500g (1 lb) pork mince

2 tbsp tomato paste

2 x 400g (14 oz) cans crushed tomatoes

250ml (9 fl oz) tomato passata

3 whole star anise

2 bay leaves

3 sprigs of thyme

3 tbsp soy sauce

½ cup cream

cooked pasta of choice, to serve (try my homemade pasta recipe)

Steps
  • Step 1

    Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and carrot. Season with salt. Cook, stirring often, for 5-6 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Now add the eggplant and cook for another 5 minutes or until the eggplant has softened.

  • Step 2

    Add the beef and pork mince to the pan, and break it up using your spatula. Cook, tossing, for 5-6 minutes or until it’s starting to colour.

  • Step 3

    Stir through the tomato paste until well combined, then pour in the crushed tomatoes and the passata. Fill each can a quarter-full with water and swish around to gather up all those remnants before emptying into the pan. Give everything a good mix, using your spatula to carefully break up any larger pieces of tomato, until all the ingredients are incorporated. Now add the star anise, bay leaves, thyme and soy sauce. Turn the heat to medium-low or until things are at a  gentle simmer, then cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 1 hour, being sure to check that the mixture doesn’t become too dry (if it does, just stir through a little water).

  • Step 4

    Remove the lid and stir through the cream. Simmer for another 5 minutes to allow everything to make friends. Use tongs to remove and discard the star anise and bay leaves. Season with salt to taste, then serve with your pasta of choice.

  • Notes
    Notes:

    – In a hurry? My 15-Minute Bolognese recipe delivers big flavour in a fraction of the time (it’s all thanks to the wok action, no less).

    – Try using leftover meat sauce in my Bolognese Roll-ups recipe for another family favourite dinner.

Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite. Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite.

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