Meaty pork bolognese served over al dente spaghetti topped with crispy, cheesy pangrattato (crispy breadcrumbs) is a delicious, comforting weeknight meal.
I’ve been in a little bit of a funk this last week. There have been press events, cooking demos, personal obligations and the regular routine to fill my days and have just not been in the mood to cook dinner much at night. I made sure the fridge is stocked with ingredients to produce easy, fuss-free dinners that require no effort on my part but will keep us all well-fed. I suppose it’s just that almost-end-of-year slump and I just have no energy for much right now. Hence the copious amounts of coffee I’ve been consuming.
Spaghetti bolognese is a dish I have on stand-by for nights when I don’t feel like cooking but feel like eating something delicious. However, I am not always in the mood for the standard bolognese (tasty as it may be) and so I experiment often. Last week I made this crazy good pork bolognese which I cooked with loads of carrots, celery, garlic and onion in a rich tomato and red wine sauce. The pork stayed really moist and I actually prefer it to beef but beef can of course be substituted.
To add another element to the finished dish, I decided to make a pangrattato which if you’re not familiar, is a crunchy breadcrumb topping which adds flavour and body to everything from soups and stews to pastas and risottos. I use it often to add a little crunch to creamy pasta dishes. But this one is extra special. I flavoured it with fresh sage, garlic and lots of Parmesan cheese and you guys. It was so good I actually ate it by the spooonful. It’s seriously addictive.
Served over the saucy spaghetti, it adds great texture and even more flavour and takes this classic weeknight staple to new levels of awesome.
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 celery stick, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 500g pork mince (ground pork)
- 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 1 cup red wine
- ½ teaspoon sugar (optional)
- 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
- salt & pepper to taste
- cooked spaghetti, to serve
- 2 cups chunky, fresh breadcrumbs (I used stale ciabatta to make the crumbs)
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 6 sage leaves, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- salt & pepper, to taste
- To make the bolognese, fry the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and thyme in a splash of olive oil until the vegetables start to soften and caramelise slightly.
- Add the pork and brown before adding the tomatoes, wine, sugar (if using) and Balsamic.
- Turn the heat down and cover then allow to simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened slightly.
- Season to taste.
- For the cheesy pangrattato, fry all the pangrattato ingredients in a tablespoon of olive oil until golden and crisp then serve sprinkled over the pork bolognese.
Classic spaghetti bolognese