Leave out the meat and you have a pizza topping or a sauce that can be used as a base for stews and casseroles of all kinds.
Just off the top of my head I can think of at least 20 dishes that this basic recipe could be turned into with only a very few minor tweaks. This really is one of those recipes that you really should know.
Substitute mushrooms or Quorn for the meat and you have a quick and easy vegetarian version.
Basic Bolognese SauceServes: 4
Ingredients:500g (1 lb) lean minced beef
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
400g (14 oz) tin chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
300ml (1 1/4 cups) beef stock
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
To Serve:250g spaghetti, cooked according to the packet instructions
Parmesan shavings, to garnish
fresh oregano or basil leaves, to garnish
Method:Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until softened.
Add the mince and fry, stirring frequently to break up any large lumps, until nicely browned. Now add the oregano, tinned tomatoes, tomato purée and beef stock. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer, cover the pan and cook gently, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
Adjust the seasonings to taste and serve on a bed of cooked spaghetti. Garnish with shavings of Parmesan cheese and fresh oregano or basil leaves.