I’m admitting something completely embarrassing to you, and only to you, because I could never tell real people in my real life.
I was out to dinner and drinks with a MC and we got to talking to two strangers – both Italian, one lovelier than the other – about Italian food. Spaghetti to be more specific. Spaghetti Bolognese to be exact.
To be honest (this is the part that I’m admitting) I had no idea what Spaghetti Bolognese was. It’s not carbonara. Not puttanesca? I was at a loss for words, because I simply couldn’t picture it. I just sat in silence hoping I wouldn’t be noticed so I could keep my deep, dark secret to myself.
MC, on the other hand, went on to tell the Italians about HER version of the Bolognese, which basically includes every vegetable she likes. I nodded away thinking it was the real thing. The Italians found the capsicum very amusing, winking and laughing a lot. Everyone was having a great time until she mentioned Kidney Beans.
I kid you not, the lovely Italian lost it. He flung his hand up, in and over to MC demanding she stop her foolishness. It actually looked like she had ripped his heard a little bit. She was ordered to never, ever, say what she had just described is spaghetti Bolognese. It wasn’t even Italian to them, it shouldn’t even be considered a pasta dish.
Then, being the food journalist* I am, I begged him to tell us HIS version of a spaghetti Bolognese, the one his family makes back in Napoli. You should have seen the sparkle in his eyes when he agreed. I’ve never seen anyone talk about a dish with such passion. He wished his mom was there to show us herself, then mayyyybe we’d get it.
I rudely took my phone out and took notes. I know it must have looked terrible to him. Who is this girl begging for a recipe then texting through it; but I knew if I didn’t write it down I’d lose it forever. Any dish that causes that reaction deserves to be copied and replicated time and time again. And so for my first Spaghetti Bolognese I will try his version. This is what he said to do:
Spaghetti, onions, garlic, celery, carrots, minced meat, tomato sauce from the can, bay leaves, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Boil water from scratch (not from the kettle – Jamie Oliver cheats!) add salt and oil. Only use spaghetti – everything else is a lie.
While it’s boiling start chopping all the ingredients: Garlic, onions, carrots, celery and bay leaves.
Next, put the minced meat to cook. Take your time with this, he said. I don’t know what he meant but I guess I’ll find out.
Put the the garlic, onion, carrots and celery in a pan and salt. Leave to lightly simmer in oil.
Once the minced meat is cooked add the tomato sauce from the bottle (not can! NOT CAN, he repeated). Let it simmer.
Once the pasta is perfectly cooked, drain it and add a bit of oil to it, then pour it on top of the sauce with the chopped vegetables following and mix. Then shower it with bay leaves.
He didn’t mention any parmesan but I feel like this would be a good time to add some.
And there you have it, the meal we will be having sometime next week in honor of that lovely, bipolar Italian and his mom.