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Saturday, August 19, 2006

Rigatoni and Meat Sauce

Rigatoni is one of the most versatile pastas you can cook with and the dried pasta should be a staple in any pantry.
While many people would call this a bolognese sauce, it is not. Bolognese sauce has far less tomato in it (sometimes none at all). What we in New Zealand often refer to as bolognese is really just a tomato based meat sauce like this one. The following will make enough sauce for 5-6 servings.

2 tins of tomatoes
1 small tin of tomato paste
White wine
400g/14 OZ of minced beef
1 medium sized onion, diced
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 can of water (tomato can)
1 red capsicum (bell pepper) diced
1/2 a packet of frozen spinach
8 mushrooms chopped into large chunks
1 heaped teaspoon each of thyme, basil, oregano and parsely
Salt & pepper to taste
1 teaspoon of chicken stock powder

Heat the oil in a large deep saucepan. Cook the onion till soft and then the mince till well browned. Add mushrooms and capsicum and cook till the liquid comes out of the mushrooms. Add a 1/3 of a cup of water or white wine at this stage to deglaze the base of the pan and stir.
Add the rest of the ingredients except the salt & pepper. Cook for 20 minutes or so then taste. Add salt & pepper and continue to simmer for 40 mins stirring occasionally until you have the desired depth of flavour and consistency (adding chicken stock if required).
Serve with rigatoni and fresh grated parmesan cheese.
There is no garlic in this particular recipe but feel free to add a little or a lot. This sauce is great frozen and served later so don't worry if you have leftovers.


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