Alex’s Low-Fuss Bolognaise

As discussed on episode 36 (starting 30:23).

There is a lot of cooking time but not much prep time. You just have to make sure you are around to stir it.

You will Need:

  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled, grated
  • 2 zucchinis, peeled, grated
  • 500g mince meat, beef or pork or a mix is fine
  • 4 cloves of garlic - crushed (or alternatively, garlic paste works perfectly well)
  • 1/2 jar of pre-made pasta sauce
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of red wine (cheap is great)
  • 500g of thin spaghetti (or pasta of your choice)
  • Parmesan cheese, shaved, to serve


1) Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add mince and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until brown, breaking up with a wooden spoon as you go. Then set cooked mince aside.

2) Add more oil and cook over low-to-medium heat (to ensure nothing burns) onion, garlic, carrot and zucchini, stirring, for 15-30 minutes or until all vegetables are soft and melted.

3) Add previously set aside mince, red wine and preferred herbs and spices (1 teaspoon basil and parsley work well). Gently stir through. Turn heat down low and let simmer for an hour or so.

It should start to smell delicious at this point.

Add pre-made pasta sauce, this can simmer on low heat for 1-5 hours (depending on how soft you like your meat).

4) Towards end of cooking make pasta. Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water, following packet directions. Drain.

5) Divide pasta among serving bowls. Spoon over sauce. Serve topped with cheese and fresh basil. Optionally, add chopped up bacon bits.


Craft Beer

I would suggest trying some craft beer because it actually is delicious, I mean certainly when compared to normal beer it's very nice. The stories behind the breweries are really interesting as well because craft beer is often either brewed by microbreweries, which are just very small breweries that might brew a couple of kegs at a time of beer, or gypsy brewers. Gypsy brewers use the facilities of other beer companies in the off seasons; so when they’re not using all of their facilities to brew beer these people come in; they'll have their recipe, they’ll chuck in everything and actually make their beer in the time that this other company isn't using their equipment. This results in them obviously not paying the full price of having a facility 12 months a year, meaning their costs aren’t quite as high, so they can afford to make basically their own types of beer and you don’t need a huge amount of capital to do it.

An excellent example of craft beer: Self Assembly Pope by  BrewDog

An excellent example of craft beer: Self Assembly Pope by BrewDog

Craft beer is always interesting, not always good, but the ingredients tend to be a lot better quality than you get in just your average beer. The hops that go into the beer are especially important for the flavour and what a lot of big companies will do is they want to maintain the flavour of their beer, which actually quite a difficult thing to do, because you have to use the same ingredients all year round and things like hops are seasonal so you've got to then obviously be able to source from several different areas of the world and you've got to use the same quantities and everything like that. So your recipe has to be exactly the same, and it's quite hard to do, so they tend to use probably what you’d call poorer quality ingredients and as such their beer doesn't actually have a lot of flavour.

This too is why beer companies have encouraged you to drink beer cold, which is actually a bit of a rort because beer shouldn't necessarily be drunk cold; it shouldn’t be drunk warm but depending on the type of beer you can have it closer to room temperature. When closer to room temperature you get a lot of flavours from the beer, and if you bring your average beer to room temperature it’s actually going to taste quite terrible and that just means it’s bad beer. If it tastes bad around room temperature it’s bad beer, whereas good beer, depending on the types of beer — usually with lighter beer you’d still drink it a bit cooler, but with dark beers you can almost have them at room temperature — should taste delicious and that’s the temperature they should be enjoyed at. 

Hear more about craft beer by listening to episode 10