Yesterday my kids whined: “There’s nothing to eat in the house!” This usually happens when all the food I cook for Shabbat gets eaten on Shabbat. This past Shabbat was the case, when my son sprang a few very last minute dinner guests on me. Fortunately I always make a lot of extra food for Shabbat so there’ll be leftovers for lunches during the week. But a group of hungry 14-year-old boys meant this was not to be. So to stave off mid-day hunger, I decided that the quickest meal I could come up with with the least effort was Spaghetti Bolognese.
I’ve seen so many recipes for making this simple meat and tomato sauce. Many of them are convoluted and involve a lot of ingredients. But my favorite recipe was one I saw on a TV show several years ago. I don’t even remember who the chef was, but it was a jolly man who was taking a culinary journey (what else?) through Italy, and sharing secrets of authentic Italian cooks. His take on Spaghetti Bolognese was so basic and easy that I tried it, loved it and this is what I’ve been making every since. He dispenses with the extra vegetables, and keeps the flavors simple and to the point, in keeping with the traditional Italian way. The result is a tasty, filling and quick meal.
For me, this is the very quick alternative to spaghetti and meatballs, which take more effort, and isn’t a 15-minute meal. It’s also a great easy cook for those starting cooks looking for the quick and easy recipes.
Needless to say, my kids stopped whining about the lack of food, and tucked into a hearty mid-day meal with gusto, insisting that I cook like this more often. They really aren’t very difficult to please.
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic crushed
500 g (1 lb) ground beef
1 800 g (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes
100 g (3.5 oz) tomato paste
½ cup dry red wine (optional)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
Salt and black pepper
1-2 teaspoons sugar (to taste)
500 g (1 lb) spaghetti (I use at least Number 5 size for a nice bite)
How to do it
1. In a large skillet or wok, heat the olive oil and saute the onions until they are soft (do not brown them)
2. Add the garlic and saute for less than a minute (make sure not to let the garlic burn)
3. Add the ground beef and fry until all the meat is browned (no pink pits are left)
4. Add the crushed tomato and tomato paste and mix well.
5. Add the spices and the wine (optional). Mix together. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and allow the sauce to simmer for up to 20 minutes until the sauce is thick and any liquid has cooked down. (If you aren’t using the wine, you can simmer for less time as you will not have to cook off the liquid from the wine.)
6. Cook the spaghetti according to the instructions. Drain and add the sauce, mixing well.
Serves about 6.