Spaghetti Bolognese – That’s Amore on Valentines day

I don’t usually celebrate Valentines day, it is a nice tradition but somehow it seems I never celebrate it properly. I remember I was in the US once and I got friendship Valentines card from my friends, it was celebrated big style! I didn’t even get around to buy a card but I promised to cook something nice! I do believe you can express love through food!

I had an order for bolognese so I thought why not. Said and done I decided to make it properly, I have  a “fast food” option that takes about 10 minutes but the difference to a slow cooked one is like two different dishes and the slow cooking adds a depth of flavor. Like Swedish meatballs I think everyone has their own recipes, search for it and there will be an amazing about of different ways and/or ingredients so find what works best for you. I like some veg in my sauce but some prefer perhaps only a finely chopped onion. Here is my version, allow for about an hour cooking time but it looks after it self for most of it! I am sure not many of you missed the horsemeat scandal and cooking from scratch is always a great way to know what you are eating and this is a great and cost efficient dish.

Good ingredients is always key and for this special Valentines dinner I used a bottle of very good (or so I think) passata.

14FebSpagBol_Passata

Slow cooked Bolognese/ragu, serves 4

400 gr mince beef

1 glass jar of good passata

1 carrot, cubed

1 celery stalk, cubed

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 chilli, de seeded and chopped

1/2 bottle of red wine

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp of honey, approx

1 heaped tsp of cracked black pepper

salt to taste

Chop all the veg and set aside whilst browning the meat.

14FebSpagBol_Veg

Add the veg to the meat and let brown gently. Then add the soy sauce, salt and pepper and then the passata, honey and red wine. Make sure it is all mixed and turn the heat down so that it simmers. Let it stand and only stir occasionally until it has reduced and starts to thicken. Taste with more salt if necessary. The honey can be replaced by sugar to bring out the tomato flavor.

Whilst the sauce is gently bubbling away I thought that I can’t make a Valentines dinner without dessert and started on a chocolate mousse, one of my favorites when I actually make it to dessert, usually I am way too full!

I chopped the chocolate and mixed with butter, that alone is always delicious! I always use Varlhorna Chocolate, it is expensive but so well worth it and it is worth getting for the flavor. For this I used their milk chocolate.

14FebChocolate&butter

I whisked egg whites and in a separate bowl I whipped cream. I added some honey to the cream instead of sugar.

Once the chocolate was melted I mixed it with the cream and then dissolved a gelatine leaf and very gently melted it on low heat. I added the gelatine and a pinch of seasalt, then gently folded in the egg whites, filled portion bowls and put in the fridge for later.

As the Bolognese was getting thick I added spaghetti to boiling water and when that was cooked, it was all ready to serve! I grated some parmesan cheese over, resisting even to add some fresh, chopped parsley and served with a nice bottle of  Margeaux.

14FebSpagBol_dish

After two generous helpings each we had a little break before tucking in to the chocolate mousse. I even found some edible gold in the cupboard that I added with a few sesame seeds for a little crunch!

14FebChocolateMousse

In it’s simplicity it was a delicious meal cooked from scratch, the sauce took a little while to cook so it is worth making a batch and freeze.

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