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Teen Tutorials – Episode 1 – How to make the perfect Spaghetti Bolognese ?

Time to get your teens cooking with Josh Hunter’s easy-to-follow cookalong tutorials!  Over the coming weeks’, Josh, Head Chef at Holland & Holland Shooting Grounds will share his favourite foolproof recipes to arm your kids and set them on their culinary paths.

This week: How to make the perfect Spaghetti Bolognese…


“My mother learnt this recipe for Bolognese when she was living in Rome working as an au pair in her teens. She taught me to make it when I was 15. It was the first thing I learnt how to cook, and I still really enjoy making it to this day.

This is the perfect thing to make as a batch. You could easily double up the batch if you have a large enough pan and freeze it in tupperware containers. This is the perfect dish to cook in the morning and just let it tick away for hours.”

Ingredients – serves 8

3 large onions
3 sticks of celery
3 large carrots
1 head of garlic
200 ml rapeseed or light olive oil
A few sprigs of thyme, oregano, rosemary and 3 bay leaves (or alternatively use dried herbs)
One large bunch of flat leaf parsley or basil
1.2kg of good quality beef mince at least 10% fat
1 tin of whole San Manzano tomatoes
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
Half a tube of tomato purée
One bottle of red wine
1 x 500ml jar of passata
1L of beef stock
1L of water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1kg pack of good quality dry spaghetti (about 120g of dried pasta per person)
Parmesan cheese to serve
15cm piece of kitchen/butcher string


Getting all of your vegetables prepped in advance is the easiest way to start. First peel and dice the onions. Peel the carrots and grate them on a box grater on medium sized holes, the same for the celery. By grating these instead of chopping into chunks they will break down into the finished sauce nicely and you won’t be left with chunks of vegetables. Peel and crush the garlic, either with a garlic crusher, microplane grater, or by hand with a knife.

Now brown the mince. This needs to be done in batches, on a medium-high heat, removing each batch into a bowl with a slotted spoon. (see video for more details)

Once all of the mince has been browned, add about 200ml of the water and clean out the pan using a wooden spoon. You can pour the residue onto your browned mince.

At this stage you might need to give the pan a quick rinse and dry if it is looking particularly mucky. Now you can sweat the onion, carrot and celery on a medium-low heat with another splash of oil and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. After about 15 mins, the onions should be looking translucent and the veg should taste sweet. Add the garlic and cook out for 2 minutes, then the tomato puree and cook out for at least 5 minutes. Now add your red wine and turn up the heat. Allow the wine to reduce by about half. This process will cook off the alcohol. Return the browned mince to the pan and add the tinned tomatoes, beef stock, passata and water. Tie the herbs with string to make a ‘bouquet garni’ and pop in the pot (see video) or if you using dried herbs stir them in now. Bring the sauce up to a simmer and then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer and cover with a piece of parchment paper (see video) or a loose lid.

You can now cook the sauce for as long as you like. Generally, the slower and longer the better. Some Italians will cook it for 6-8 hours. I would recommend for at least 2.5 hours on a gentle simmer. (You can also cook this in the oven at a low heat of 140C for the same amount of time). Adjust the temperature according to how long you would like to cook it. If you would like to do a very slow cook, then the heat should be as low as possible. When ready the meat should be very tender and the liquid should have reduced to a thick coating consistency, with a deep rich flavour. Make sure you are stirring occasionally to prevent it from catching on the bottom.

When you are ready to serve, cook the spaghetti in salted boiling water until tender but with a little bite.

Combine and finish with a little chopped parsley or basil and some freshly grated parmesan cheese.



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