Store Cupboard Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese is one of those recipes that have become part and parcel of any self-respecting cook’s repertoire.  Unfortunately, this classic combination of pasta and a rich meat sauce has suffered dreadfully in most Filipino kitchens – particularly in school cafeterias. 

I know many people who have gone through the trauma of being served spaghetti with an almost tooth-achingly sweet sauce made with ketchup – of all things! – and hotdogs.  I don’t mind the hotdogs; seriously, they do give the dish a bit of character.  But I draw the line at ketchup – especially banana ketchup!  It’s a case of culinary blasphemy and sacrilege, if you ask me. 

At our house, tomato-based pasta sauces run the gamut from lip-puckeringly tart pomodoro to fiery arabbiata – a sign of some seriously adventurous palates.  Bolognese at home is a store-cupboard melange of pre-packaged sauces, canned mushrooms, and good quality meat with just the faintest hint of sugar to bring out the richness of the various flavors in the dish.  It’s a family favorite that may become a favorite in your own home.

Store-cupboard Spaghetti Bolognese

  • 1 300 gram pack spaghetti, prepared according to package instructions

  • 1/4 kilo lean ground beef

  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped

  • 4 large cloves garlic, crushed and minced

  • 1 medium-sized eggplant, finely diced 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 can button mushrooms, drained

  • 1 small pack tomato sauce

  • 1 regular-sized pack Italian-style spaghetti sauce

  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar

  • 1 chicken or beef bouillon cube 

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning or 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

Saute the onion in the olive oil until softened and nearly transparent.  Add the garlic and cook until the garlic has browned a bit.  Add the eggplant and cook until softened.  Add the beef, bouillon cube, and Italian seasoning; cook until the beef has browned and the bouillon cube has melted.  Pour in the tomato and spaghetti sauces; mix well and bring to a simmer.  Sprinkle in the sugar and stir to dissolve.  Add the mushrooms and allow to cook for a few minutes more.  Serve on top of prepared pasta with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan.

Hardy's Shiraz Cabernet 2003

If desired, have some wine with your pasta dinner.  This 2003 Shiraz Cabernet from Australian vintner Hardy’s does the trick.  It’s a dry red, but isn’t too tannic and has a smooth fruitiness that goes well with the hearty pasta.

One thought on “Store Cupboard Spaghetti Bolognese

  1. felt exactly the same when i was kid Midge! couldn’t stand the ketchuppy spaghetti…so i took over the spaghetti duty.

    so much good eats over here…i want to make them all! am so intrigued by the sausage rolls especially.

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