This is my own ‘everyday batch bolognese’. I say everyday, because its not fancy, its cheap – its about as basic as I would want it, but its still awesomely tasty. I say batch, because this recipe makes 7 portions, so you can freeze and enjoy at your convenience. Using the ingredients below I’ve estimated the cost of this per portion at about £1.20 (including the tub!). If you add on the cost of pasta, and anything you might add when cooking to pimp it up (my favourites – mushrooms, chilli, chorizo etc), then you’re looking at a main meal costing about £1.50-£1.80 per portion.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 500g lean steak mince
- 700g smooth tomato passata
- 250g smoked bacon lardons
- 2 white onions
- 2 carrots
- A handful of torn fresh basil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 7 takeaway-style plastic tubs for freezing
- A big pot to cook it all in
- A smaller pan for frying off your bacon and mince
- First, finely slice your onions and garlic into one bowl, and then finely chop your carrots into another bowl. This just gets them ready and organised.
- Get some olive oil in your large pan and fry off the onions and garlic. You don’t want them to burn, just soften, so make sure you control the heat carefully.
- Once the onions are starting to soften, throw in your chopped carrot and let that soften down too.
- Whilst the carrot is softening, get your bacon on the heat in your small pan. I advise frying your bacon in batches to get it nice and crispy. Fry one batch, then throw it in your big pot, then fry the next batch etc.
- Once all your bacon is golden brown and in your big pan, don’t wash your small pan – use it to fry the mince off. Use the same method as the bacon – small batches, make sure its all nicely browned, then throw each batch into your big pan as its done. Keep stirring your big pan and mixing it all together as you go. You don’t want the heat too high or else your onion and carrot will burn, keep the heat low.
- Once all your mince is brown and in your big pan, throw in your passata and give it a good stir.
- Now tear up a handful of fresh basil and stir that in too.
- Thats all the work done – let it simmer on a low heat for 40 minutes.
- Once its had chance to simmer, take it off the heat and let it cool.
- Once its cool, separate it into 7 of your tubs, and put into the freezer.
This is one of those meals that might take you an hour and a half to make one Sunday, but you’ll end up with 7 delicious portions of bolognase that you can freeze and forget about. I keep mine for emergencies – if I know I’m going to be late home from work, I take one of my portions out of the freezer the night before and heat it up when I’m home from work for a quick 10 minute meal – awesome!!
As I said at the top, don’t forget to be creative even after you’ve made the bolognese – you can serve it with pasta for the traditional spaghetti bolognese, or on a jacket potato. When you heat it up, add some fresh mushrooms, chilli, or anything you like. Tomato purée is always a good ingredient to add. You’ve got 7 portions – make each one different! It will last ages in the freezer too, so you really can just forget about it and take it out whenever you need a quick, easy, tasty meal – you’ve done all the hard work already!