Saturday, 14 November 2009

A Scottish Mother's Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce

There is clearly a bit of a story attached to this recipe which it is better to relate before I proceed with the recipe itself. This recipe differs from any other that I have included on this blog - or anywhere else, for that matter - in that it is not one which I created or at least adapted. No, I am not committing plagiarism, nor have I been chatting up any elderly ladies of Italian descent: the recipe is actually my mother's.

This is a recipe which I vividly remember my mother (who has no Italian links) preparing from my earliest childhood but - even as a food writer and editor - I have strangely enough never asked her how she actually makes it until very recently. This is especially surprising, given the fact that it is so good. I therefore deemed to put that fact right and share it with the wider world at large. My mother (a vegetarian!) devised the recipe through trial and error, without clearly ever tasting it herself. I was certainly surprised myself both by certain inclusions and omissions from this recipe but please try it out for yourself before judging it.

The quantities in this recipe provide for two people.


1/2lb minced/ground steak (or beef)
2 small carrots (scraped and diced)
1 medium white onion (moderately finely chopped)
2 large closed cup mushrooms (moderately finely chopped)
8oz tomato puree
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
A little boiling water


Brown the minced/ground steak in a large pot. Ensure that it doesn't burn. Add the carrots and the onion then enough boiling water to ensure that everything is submerged. Simmer gently for ten to fifteen minutes.

Add the mushrooms, followed by the tomato puree and ketchup. Stir very well and leave to simmer gently while the accompanying spaghetti is prepared according to the instructions on the packet.

Drain the spaghetti and arrange on the serving plates, prior to spooning the bolognese sauce on top. Freshly grated parmesan cheese can be added if and as required.

Footnote: I have to admit that there is one thing I always add to this recipe and that is salt. That again, however, is a matter of personal taste.

Bonus Recipe Today! - Bolognese Sauce with Cheese on Toast

I couldn't bring myself to publish this post with my own sole contribution to the recipe being the addition of some salt, so I decided to share with you a way in which I love to eat any leftover bolognese sauce.


2 tbsp Bolognese sauce
1oz grated/shredded cheddar or other hard cheese
1 slice of bread
Freshly ground black pepper


The first step is simply to re-heat the Bolognese sauce. Toast the bread thereafter on one side and turn it over before spooning on and smoothing out the Bolognese sauce. Sprinkle the cheese carefully on top and grind the pepper liberally on top of the cheese. Place back under the hot grill until the cheese has melted and begins to bubble furiously.

This makes a great lunch idea for the day after the Spaghetti Bolognese has been served but remember to ensure that the sauce is refrigerated if being left overnight and very thoroughly re-heated prior to use.

Yet Another Bonus Today

Do you ever have a problem judging how much spaghetti to make per person? I know that it used to be a common problem for me! Not long ago, however, I found this clever little tool on Amazon. You simply determine how many people you are cooking for and use the appropriate hole to determine how much spaghetti to cook. Obviously, it is not foolproof, as peoples' appetites vary, but it should at least significantly reduce the amount of unrequired and cooked spaghetti you are forced to discard - or even worse, the number of occasions upon which you come up short!

Click on either the or panel below to go a long way to ensuring that your cooked spaghetti is of the right quantity in future.

Relevant Associated Links for your Further Information

Tomato and Basil Pasta Recipe

Healthy Beef Recipes

How to Easily Make your own Homemade Pasta

Quick, Delicious, Homemade Pasta Dishes

A Pasta Guide from A-Z

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