Spaghetti Bolognaise

I was 10 or 11 years old when I was at a school camp for a week. For dinner one night, they served a magnificent lasagne with bolognaise sauce that was even better than mum's, and this is coming from a child with a full Italian heritage. I begged the cooks for the recipe to the sauce, and they were all too happy to help me out. I went home cradling the recipe safely in my pocket.

I love the bolognaise sauce so much that I take every opportunity I can to scoop up a generous amount from a fresh batch into a small bowl and eat to my heart's content. Until mum finds me going through my third or fourth bowl and she kicks me out of the kitchen to protect whatever remains. Even now, she knows to keep an eye out whenever I'm visiting and she's making a vegetarian version otherwise it'll all be gone before it can be served for dinner.

This here is the recipe. I hope you enjoy the sauce as much as I do! I use mushrooms in this recipe to add some bulk, give it a meatier flavour to suit my omnivore roomies and for a dose of Vitamin D and other nutrients. I used Quorn mince in this recipe but you could use a different brand, TVP or other versions of fake mince. I personally prefer Linda McCartney's Vegemince as its cheaper with a higher quantity, tastier and it's made with soy instead. I haven't been able to find it anywhere near me lately so I had to settle for Quorn. If you do manage to get your hands on Linda's, use the whole bag and about 100g of mushrooms. As for the sugar, add one teaspoon first, taste the sauce and see if it needs more, since some tomato passata are more acidic than others.

If you plan on using this sauce for lasagne, reduce the sauce further to make it slightly thicker. This way the lasagne doesn't turn out runny.

2 or three tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced (If you're like me at all, you'll double the amount of garlic)
200-250g mushrooms, chopped
300g bag of Quorn mince
3 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp each of rosemary, oregano and basil
Salt and pepper
2 x 700ml bottles of tomato passata or 1 bottle of passata plus 2 x 400g cans of diced tomatoes if you want additional texture.
1/2 cup water
1 or 2 tsp sugar

1. Heat the pot on medium heat and once hot enough, add the oil. The reason for this is so that the food doesn't stick to the pot. This applies every time you cook with oil.
2. Add the onion and garlic to the pot, lower the heat to medium and cook until the onion becomes translucent.
3. Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Add the mince and stir through, cooking for another few minutes.
4. Mix through the tomato paste, the herbs, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Add the tomato passata and water, stir through and let cook. Add one tsp of sugar and taste-test to see if it requires more sugar to cut the acidity.
6. Turn down the heat and let simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring regularly. It's ready when you see a film of oil on the surface of the sauce and the sauce has reduced somewhat.
7. Serve with pasta of your choice.


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