Spaghetti Bolognese

When you are feeling completely lousy and all you want to do is curl up and sleep all through winter. Spaghetti Bolognese is the perfect winter comfort food.

That was me a few days ago. I really felt like I could quite happily hibernate all throughout winter and come back in the Spring. My days went bad – the train wasn’t working due to strike actions, it was completely crammed on a train I could get onto. My feet was cold and wet due to them having a hole on the sole. And worst then that – I felt completely and utterly knacked. On that day I had no energy, I could be content with sleeping for a thousand years.

So once I got home the only thing I could think of making for myself was, good old fashion winter comfort food Spaghetti Bolognese. Its such an easy meal and so delicious to eat. For me it hit the spot. I like eating it with tons of fresh tomatoes and garlic bread. I made this delicious dish and then collapse into a food coma for the rest of the evening. It was the perfect meal to cheer me up after a lousy day.

A thought occurred to me while eating my meal. Do you know where the Bolognese sauce comes from? Ok yes Italy – it isn’t exactly a trick question. Everybody knows that. But do you know the origins of our favorite Bolognese sauce?

Ragù alla Bolognese is known in Italy as a meat sauce. Anyone who has visited Italy, and most especially to the Bologna in the Emilia-Romagna region, will be sure to tell you to get rid of any impression that it is a tomato-based sauce.

Italians feel it is their desire to tell people that what is commonly thought of as Bolognese sauce is all wrong. This is due to the fact that Bolognese sauce has changed a lot over the centuries since it was first made by home cooks with no access to ingredients beyond those that were grown and produced in their local region.

Traditionally, Bolognese sauce is made from everyday vegetables such a battuto of carrot, celery, and onion, locally-raised including beef, pork, veal, sausage, and prosciutto, a touch of tomato, and a whole lot of time.

Sadly nowadays, there are fewer cooks who will devote the hours necessary to create a true ragù, but the facts are still the same. Every step of its preparation is designed to draw out the best tasting results from each ingredient. The vegetables are slow-cooked with pork fat or olive oil until they are melted together in a caramelized vegetable medley. The meat is slowly simmered to cook off its water content, helping it brown properly. Often, wine and tomatoes are added and reduced to the point of evaporation, leaving behind their concentrated flavor. Then the sauce is slowly simmered, resulting in a rich, meaty sauce that is traditionally served over a fresh, egg-rich pasta called tagliatelle. Ragù alla Bolognese also finds its way into lasagna and as a sauce for potato gnocchi.

And there we go, the origins of the Bolognese sauce.  Is Spaghetti Bolognese your ultimate winter comfort food?