I don’t usually try to share photos of food other than cakes and cupcakes. I take a photo of a cake and it looks yummy and delicious and I want a pillow made of muffin to place on my bed made of cake and fall asleep under a blanket of frosting. I take a photo of a gorgeous roasted chicken and it looks like a CSI photo of a serial killer’s victim. So, there’s that.
But I brought home a cookbook from our visit to The Garlic Farm and made the most incredible pasta sauce. It may be my mission in life to share this pasta sauce, to make it over and over until I can perfect it. When that happens, we’ll all blast off in to space on a garlic rocket and turn into bodhisattvas. Or something like that. I may be unclear on how that works.
Here’s the recipe, from The Garlic Farm Cookbook: Recipes, Grow Your Own, Health, History & More, edited by Natasha Edwards and published by The Garlic Press (book available on their website, recipe shared here with permission). In my opinion, the fennel seeds are the secret ka-pow ingredient that make this whole thing so amazing. That and the garlic. Mmmm.
Rich Slow Cooked Bolognese
This takes time but not so much effort. It just needs you to be hanging around in the kitchen doing other things and occasionally giving it a stir but the result is so worth it and you can make as much as your pan will hold and freeze what is not consumed.
4 large onions, sliced or diced
3 carrots, diced
A bulb of garlic, cloves peeled
8 garlic cloves, crushed
A big bunch of fresh herbs with parsley, sage, rosemary, chives, fennel fronds, tarragon, anything green and herby, chopped
A teaspoon of fennel seed
1 kg of minced beef [ground beef], preferably lean
1 pack of tasty pork sausages, slit down the middle and the meat removed from their skins
2 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 large tablespoon of tomato puree
2 large glasses of red wine
1 large teaspoon of vegetable bouillon powder
Put the onions in a casserole with a knob of butter, a drizzle of olive oil and the fennel seeds and cover with the lid to let them slowly sweat, soften and caramelise. On low heat with occasional stirring this can take half an hour. The carrots and whole garlic cloves need roasting at 200C in a tray for half an hour. When you remove the tray from the oven, keep it near the casserole because you can toss everything in there once it’s prepared. Throw the softened onions in with the carrots. Brown the beef in the casserole in batches and make sure it’s really brown with crispy bits rather than beige to get maximum flavour. Brown the sausage meat and really break it up, then add the crushed garlic and, 2 minutes later, the tomato puree. Give this 5 to 10 minutes to caramelise together, stirring fairly regularly and then add the wine and allow it to bubble and reduce.
Now add all the cooked ingredients back in, together with the tomatoes and bouillon. Put the lid on and simmer for about an hour then take the lid off and continue to simmer for about another hour until it is rich and delicious. This is great as a sauce for pasta, in a cottage pie, stuffed in a marrow – add a bit of chilli and some kidney beans and the possibilities become endless. The work is definitely worth it.
I made a large batch and froze half — it defrosted well and tasted just as delicious the second time around. (And on the third time round, I served it with rice and beans: *kiss fingers*)
If I could bottle and give away the fragrance of this sauce while it cooks, I’d hold the secret to world peace in my hands. Enjoy!