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Your Spag Bol


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#1 KylieY

Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:30 PM

Hi there

I was wondering how other people make their spag bol. I think I am a pretty good cook, but there are a few dishes that I find hard to master. I know spag bol is as easy as it gets, but for some reason, my spaghetti just doesn't cut it. I use beef mince, usually a jar of dolmio or five brothers, onion, garlic and red wine if I have any on hand but it never tastes awesome IYKWIM?

So, what's your recipe for a great spag bol?

Thanks in anticipation!  biggrin.gif

#2 Stellajoy

Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:34 PM

Start with aromatics. Garlic, onion, celery, carrot. Dried herbs. Brown, add red wine and tomato paste. Reduce.

Brown mince, add diced tomatoes, fresh herbs.

Cook for however long.

Add more fresh herbs, maybe more fresh garlic.

#3 Stellajoy

Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:34 PM

Start with aromatics. Garlic, onion, celery, carrot. Dried herbs. Brown, add red wine and tomato paste. Reduce.

Brown mince, add diced tomatoes, fresh herbs.

Cook for however long.

Add more fresh herbs, maybe more fresh garlic.

Start with aromatics. Garlic, onion, celery, carrot. Dried herbs. Brown, add red wine and tomato paste. Reduce.

Brown mince, add diced tomatoes, fresh herbs.

Cook for however long.

Add more fresh herbs, maybe more fresh garlic.

#4 Aquarium

Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:37 PM

The secret ingredient is a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce per person.

What's the issue with the spaghetti? How are you doing that?

#5 GamerMum

Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:40 PM

I have a tomato allergy, so mine is rather different, but I've been told it is awesome anyway. I make it two ways.

Packet/lazy way - Make beef mince up with Continental Rich Beefy Mince seasoning, doubling the water content and serve on spaghetti.

From scratch way - Cook up garlic, onion, carrots, celery. Add beef mince, beef or chicken stock and cook until meat is cooked. Then I make up a batch of gravy (from scratch or packet, depending what I have) which I also add garlic and onion to, as well as onion powder and chicken or beef powdered stock. I make it thicker than regular gravy, then add it to the veg and meat mix which thins it down. Then serve on spaghetti.

#6 glasnost

Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:42 PM

secret ingredient: teaspoon of brown sugar- takes the acidity out of the tomatoes. Alsoa rasher or two of bacon/ham for extra flavour.

#7 la di dah

Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:42 PM

I use jarred sauce too but I add more spices.

I use garlic powder, onion, black pepper, salt, oregano, and often but not always coriander leaves. I tend to choose between coriander and basil and alternate times because I make a tonne of pasta annually.

I'm not keen on adding red wine, I'd rather drink the wine. Spices/herbs are where its at.

I do salt the pasta water though I know its not the done thing anymore.

#8 Beanbag Warrior

Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:43 PM

Brown an onion.

Add mince, brown mince.

Add a tin of herb-enriched tomatoes, a good dollop of herb-enriched tomato paste, more dried herbs (or fresh if you're fancy), as much of a packet of min frozen vege as you feel necessary.

Splodge in some red wine if you've got it handy.

Simmer until thick.

#9 *LucyE*

Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:44 PM

I do it something like the following.  It's not authentic but I like it.  I often will change it depending on what I actually have on hand though.

This Gourmet Traveller article is also interesting.

In a large Le Cruset pot, saute finely chopped onion until translucent.  Then add finely diced celery and carrot.  Fry off for a bit and then add finely sliced garlic.  I then take it all out of the pan, and heat it up to brown off the meat.  

I use a mixture of veal/beef mince and pork mince (roughly 60/40 ratio).  I get the butcher to do a coarse mince for me so it has some texture to it.

Once the mince is all browned off and it isn't stewing, but dry and fragrant, I add the veggies back in and some tomato paste.  Stir and cook it off a bit.  Then I hit it with some wine.  If I have a good red, I'll use that otherwise I usually have a dry unwooded chardonnay.  Allow that to cook off and then add some tomatoes.

If I have some good fresh ones, I will add those - skinned, chopped and deseeded.  Otherwise, I'll just use tins or bottles of sugo/passaata.  Turn down the heat to a simmer and let that cook off for a bit and it is looking nicely melded.  I then add some chicken stock or sometimes just water.  Chuck in some herbs (usually parsely, thyme, oregano, basil and bay), leave the lid just ajar and let it simmer for a while until it is thick and smells delicious.

Somewhere in all that I would have added some salt and pepper too.

#10 Arls01

Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:46 PM

I use half beef mince, half pork mince. It really makes a difference.

#11 Comrade Borgia

Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:46 PM

Similar to stellajoy, I dice onion, carrot, celery, mince fresh  garlic then cook in olive oil with some cubed pancetta, then brown the mince, teaspoon of flour, a cup of white wine, then throw in a couple sprigs thyme and grate some nutmeg, salt, pepper, can tomatoes, some passata and a cup of chicken stock....simmer for an hour if it is too acidic I will put some sugar in at this point, or balsamic vinegar or vin cotto ......it always tastes quite nice!

Edited by Lucretia Borgia, 26 November 2012 - 04:47 PM.


#12 JJ

Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:49 PM

Large onion and about 3 cloves of garlic, I add a couple of tins of diced tomato and a small tin of tomato puree (Only Organic brand from Aldi) - no jar sauces. I have nothing against jar sauces but for spag bol they're just no good.

Dried herbs - I use generous amounts of parsley, basil, oregano and thyme. Oh, and black pepper.

I don't use salt - if it needs extra saltiness, I add some vegetable stock powder.

Let it simmer for as long as possible as that really improves the flavour.

I don't do it myself, but I do know people who add some milk to the sauce - I think it tenderises the meat or something along those lines.

The "original" spag bol recipe contains carrot & celery, bacon and chicken liver! Seriously.

#13 Mishu

Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:51 PM

Chop and fry onions,carrot, celery and garlic. Then brown 500gr beef mince and 250 gr veal mince. Add a splash of red wine if you have it, cook until sauce reduces. Add passata (don't use the dolmio sauces or other varities, just tomato passata). Through in some herbs, beef stock cube, a splash of soy sauce (or Worcestershire - that adds a nice flavour). I then add mushrooms, sometimes zucchini. Simmer for at least an hour. I also add a rind of parmesan cheese while it simmers, it adds a depth of flavour. If your sauce is a bit acidic from the tomato sauce you use, add a tablespoon of raw sugar to cut the acidity. Enjoy original.gif

I'm also making another pasta dish tonight that is a hit with the family. I fry onions, add chopped chorizo sausages and chopped bacon. Then I add whatever vegies I have - mushrooms and zucchini tonight, frozen peas sometimes. Add tomato passata. Simmer. I add a dollop of lite cream just before serving. There's never any leftovers of this sauce original.gif

#14 Mumof32b!

Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:53 PM

I always add bacon to mine, bacon makes everything good!

Agree with pp, onion, garlic, celery, carrot, herbs, brown mince add tin toms and tom paste and Worcestershire sauce, sometimes I add stock & red wine then let simmer gently for about 3 hours is delish!

#15 Bel Rowley

Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:54 PM

I saute onion, carrot, celery and occasionally zucchini in olive oil, add garlic when it's all starting to soften, then remove.

Saute mince until brown, add vegies back in. Add bottle of passata, 1 tsp beef stock powder, some dried oregano, a bay leaf, and a good splash of Worcestershire sauce. Salt and pepper.

Simmer away, the longer the better. Add heaps of fresh herbs just before serving - usually oregano, basil and parsley, if I have enough of them in the garden.

#16 HRH Countrymel

Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:56 PM

DP cooks ours - after tasting his the first time I knew my days of bolognese making were over for good - to the recipe his Step Dad used growing up in the Italian part of Chicago.

Don't entirely know what goes into it - but there is a LONG cooking time, he simmers it for a good 2 hours at the very least.

Lots and lots of tomatoes (tinned or my homemade passata) and chorizo sausages in addition to the mince, stock, onions, garlic and herbs (dried herbs obviously with that length of cook).

The whole thing reduces by 1/2 or more by the end to this intense rich deliciousness.



#17 Stellajoy

Posted 26 November 2012 - 04:56 PM

Oh and never beef mince. Pork, or pork and veal. Makes an amazing difference

#18 fick81

Posted 26 November 2012 - 05:03 PM

Adding my name to the list of people saying pork, not beef.

When I moved out of home, one of the first dishes of my mothers that I tried to replicate was her spag bol. I'd seen her do it a million times so figured it was easy as. Somehow, it kept tasting *wrong*. Until I asked my mother and she told me I should be using pork mince instead of beef. Since then? Perefect. original.gif

I also simmer the sauce for a good 1.5-2hrs and before serving, add one scrambled egg. Otherwise it's pretty standard ingredients/method.

#19 Boombox

Posted 26 November 2012 - 05:11 PM

Add my two cents- bacon cooked first with a sprinkle of cinnamon, add onion, carrots, garlic + a handful of fresh herbs (parsley, oregano, thyme) and a glug of olive oil, fry off for a few mins, add pork and veal mince and brown off. Add two tins chopped tomatoes + half a tin of water or wine. Then simmer for at least 2 hours. At end add salt, pepper and wouster sauce to taste. Yummo!

#20 la di dah

Posted 26 November 2012 - 05:15 PM

Everyone puts pork in their spaghetti, really? unsure.gif

Anyway, I don't. I use beef or ground chicken. When I use ground chicken I tend to use at least a small shot of soy sauce as well.

I used to use ground turkey but its a pain in the ass to find out here.

Admittedly sometimes I don't use meat at all but is that just spaghetti marinara then?

#21 TarneeW

Posted 26 November 2012 - 05:16 PM

QUOTE (mamasaurus @ 26/11/2012, 05:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
secret ingredient: teaspoon of brown sugar- takes the acidity out of the tomatoes. Alsoa rasher or two of bacon/ham for extra flavour.


I was going to write this, however, I use white sugar. 1-2 teaspoons original.gif

#22 Ducky*Fuzz

Posted 26 November 2012 - 05:25 PM

I use beef mince, a bit of beef stock powder, bbq sauce, woolies home brand chunky sauce, chilli, garlic, chopped basil, tuscan herbs and grated carrot and zucchini. yummo.

#23 TopsyTurvy

Posted 26 November 2012 - 05:27 PM

QUOTE (Stellajoy @ 26/11/2012, 05:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Start with aromatics. Garlic, onion, celery, carrot. Dried herbs. Brown, add red wine and tomato paste. Reduce.

Brown mince, add diced tomatoes, fresh herbs.

Cook for however long.

Add more fresh herbs, maybe more fresh garlic.


This 100%!!

#24 KylieY

Posted 26 November 2012 - 05:30 PM

Wow thanks girls.... I am going to try all those way and see what comes out on top.

Thanks for replying....I appreciate it.

#25 Feral Becky

Posted 26 November 2012 - 05:30 PM

Oh my, Stella Joy. Thanks, making it this way this week.




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