Monday's are always traumatic enough, what with kissing goodbye to the weekend and having to spend all day doing something that nearly bores you to death, and attempts to induce rigor mortis. Once at home it's time to wake up, walk the dog, pick up the kids, take oldest kid to and from her sports class etc. Thus, I always try and have a trick up my sleeve when it comes to having a quick, but classy meal. Today I am reheating what I tend to cook in heavy batches (4-5 family meals worth), before freezing in plastic containers and taking out when required. This is based on a recipe I used from Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries recipe book. The slight difference with his Spag Bol is the addition of cream or milk, something I have never seen anywhere else. It does work though, and at last I can truthfully say my quest to find the perfect Spag Bol is well and truly over. Try it yourself and share your thoughts.
50g Butter 20p
80g Cubed Pancetta 80p
1 Onion 10p approx, chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, peeled
1 Carrot 7p, chopped
2 Stalks Celery 20p approx, chopped
2 Large Field Mushrooms 66p, chopped
2 Bay Leaves
450-500g Minced Beef (try healthy options - less fat) £2.50
200ml Passata 46p
100ml Red Wine (just use the leftovers from the night before) 70p approx
300ml Beef Stock 25p (I use the Knorr 8 pack jelly-type stocks)
2 heaped spoons of cream 25p approx
Salt and Pepper
Pasta/spaghetti of choice - 250g easily feeds our family serving 40p approx
Total Cost £6.59 The above makes one family pasta meal, and one where bol sauce used with jacket spud.
1. Melt butter on low heat in a frying pan. Add pancetta and cook slowly for 5-7min
2. Add onion and garlic and stir in. Don't cook so high that onions brown.
3. Stir in carrot and celery.
4. Add mushrooms and bay leaves to pan. Cook for 10min, stirring frequently.
5. Turn up heat to medium high. Add mince. Break up and then brown meat.
6. Add passata, wine, stock, and salt and pepper. Bring to boil.
7. Reduce heat until bubbling/simmering gently. Partially cover with lid and cook for 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Check sauce doesn't get dry. Add extra water/stock where necessary. Stir now and then.
8. Add the cream a bit at a time, always stirring, 15 min before serving.
9. Check the seasoning and serve.